Friends & Collaborators

Building community around great food.

"Food is the best and most natural way to connect with others. Some of my best friendships were formed around food."

Ceci Tadfor grew up in Buea, Cameroon which is located in Central-West Africa. There, her family grew corn, cassava, cocoyam, and plantains – all staple foods for the area’s traditional dishes. Her whole family participated in small-scale farming, from planting to harvesting. But, because of a disability, Ceci stayed home with her grandmother, who raised her. 

Ceci learned to cook by watching and helping her grandmother in the kitchen. Her passion for cooking comes from the special bond they developed while creating meals together.

She has proudly called Santa Fe home for 30 years. During that time, she has found many different ways to share her love of food, to show her love of community, and to develop ways to build connections. 

Cecilia Tadfor of Ceci's African Kitchen is a Friend and Collaborator with Open Kitchen Santa Fe catering

Ceci is an amazing chef who shares the flavors of West Africa with her Santa Fe community. Cooking as a career began when she was invited to cater a public function at the Museum of International Folk Art. Since then, Ceci has been a food vendor at the International Folk Art Market and she has done catering and meal delivery through Ceci’s African Kitchen.

Ceci is also a teacher who is constantly sharing her knowledge and passion for food and the cultures they come from. For over 7 years, she instructed students on African Cuisine at the Santa Fe Community College. She is currently the Culinary Program Training Director at Youthworks. She has led demonstration cooking classes at the local festival that celebrates African art and culture, Fiesta Fela. She has cooked with kids in the Santa Fe Public Schools and she leads hands-on cooking classes and workshops for the general community.

On top of all of this, Ceci is a philanthropist who invests in both her Santa Fe and Cameroonian communities. She founded The Ceci Tchakounte Tadfor Foundation, a  non-profit foundation which helps educate, support, and empower people with physical disabilities as well as work towards stopping sex trafficking in Cameroon.

She is also a board member for The Tessa Foundation (Teach, Envision, Sustain, Serve, Advance), an organization devoted to furthering human rights for people challenged by oppression, disability, hunger, and other abuses.

Cecilia Tadfor of Ceci's African Kitchen is a Friend and Collaborator with Open Kitchen Santa Fe catering

"The circumstances of disability does not define a person. You are defined by your attitude in regard to your experiences and history."

Another way that Ceci gives back, connects people, and builds community is through her blog, which is about “a culture known to celebrate life with good food, fine wine, and great music. It’s about the unfamiliar culinary artists who want to share something new and tasty and impressive. It’s a teaching blog introducing food diversity.”

Here, Ceci provides us with some of her favorite recipes as well as cultural background to those recipes. She also shares recipes from her friends, far and near, so we can all experience different foods from around the world, together.

That love of cooking and sharing, born from the love between her and her grandmother, culminated in a cookbook. Ceci’s African Kitchen – A Chronicle of Cameroonian Cuisine and Culture. The book covers a brief history of Cameroon, shares a collection of traditional and non-traditional recipes from Cameroon, and shares traditional folk tales. You can buy a copy here

You can also purchase a version for Kindle.

We encourage our community to get to know Ceci and join her community by subscribing to her blog and following her on Facebook. She invites you to be a part of her experience by sharing your food, travel, and culture via her blog. 

Thank you for being our friend, Ceci, and for expanding our palate with the flavors of Central-West Africa!

Cecilia Tadfor of Ceci's African Kitchen is a Friend and Collaborator with Open Kitchen Santa Fe catering