I watched him from afar, making his way without fuss, then winning everything from Top Chef to a Michelin star for his Paris restaurant, MoSuke. Then one day, as a gift, Mory Sacko came to cook at my place.

I was already curious about Mory’s rise to fame, because I’m touched by his background: he’s the same age as my little brothers. A young Black man of Malian descent, one of nine children, he grew up in the suburbs of Paris reading manga and loving Japanese culture. The TV was his window on the world. Mory learned from his mother and her African dishes that to feed your people is to love them, to bring them together in pleasure and warmth.

His cuisine comprises everything that makes up his history: the tastes of France, Africa, and Japan. Mory has become a master of the culinary arts, and his recipe is to give up nothing of who he is.

Sy is an actor

Photograph by Tarek Mawad for TIME

Styling by Louis Carrupt. Prop styling by Isabelle Clotten. Grooming by Eduardo Bravo.

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