Mover, Shaker, Driver, Maker: Authentic African Food Truck & Hot Sauces Coming to Little Rock

by Benjamin Harrison

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Mover, Shaker, Driver, Maker

Mover,
Shaker,
Driver,
Maker

Posted by Benjamin Harrison
7th October 2020

Posted by
Benjamin Harrison
7th October 2020

Meet Madere Toure

Mader Toure is a life-giving individual, generous with laughter, charitable, and community-oriented. He’s also a bit of a busy body. He’s already launched one successful business and has a couple more in the works, including an African-themed food truck and a line of hot sauces.

You may already know, but Madere helped launch and grow Ayo Foods, a local catering company, into a profitable enterprise. Ayo Foods provided lunch to students at the Bowen School of Law and “serviced the Clinton Library, catering events at UAMS, and different organizations around town, business lunches,” says Madere. “But COVID really kind of wiped it out.”

He journeyed to America from Senegal in 2001 because, well, “it was something different.” Impressively, he’s trilingual, speaking English, French, Wolof, and he also understands the mathematical jargon of the digital world, having studied computer science at UCA in Conway.

Madere is the latest addition to the FareMarket team. He has already started delivering local grocery orders for FareMarket throughout the Little Rock area, and I’d like to formally introduce him to you.

We’ve bumped into each other here and there, at cooperative organizing meetings and farmers markets, but our friendship really began with COVID.

Like most grocery stores, FareMarket has spoilage (food that can’t be sold but isn’t necessarily inedible).

Madere and others in the community, in response to the shutdown of the economy, launched the Little Rock Interfaith Food Security and Worker Relief Initiative, prepping meals and delivering to at-risk individuals. I wanted to chip in, and that’s when Madere and I started having more regular interactions.

He’s a life-giving individual, generous with laughter, charitable, and community-oriented. He’s also a bit of a busy body. He’s already launched one successful business and has a couple more in the works, including an African-themed food truck and a line of hot sauces.

You may already know, but Madere helped launch and grow Ayo Foods, a local catering company, into a profitable enterprise. Ayo Foods provided lunch to students at the Bowen School of Law and “serviced the Clinton Library, catering events at UAMS, and different organizations around town, business lunches,” says Madere. “But COVID really kind of wiped it out.”

He journeyed to America from Senegal in 2001 because, well, “it was something different.” Impressively, he’s trilingual, speaking English, French, Wolof, and he also understands the mathematical jargon of the digital world, having studied computer science at UCA in Conway.

Cooking in a pandemic

Cooking in a pandemic

He makes a living doing web design, primarily for nonprofit organizations, but he also freelances for individuals. “When you're an entrepreneur, yourself only, you've got to make something on the side. The market always goes up and down,” he says and laughs.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he’s maintained an administrative role with Ayo Foods, a business that, like many, has worked diligently to reestablish itself in a drastically different world.
 

He makes a living doing web design, primarily for nonprofit organizations, but he also freelances for individuals. “When you're an entrepreneur, yourself only, you've got to make something on the side. The market always goes up and down,” he says and laughs.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he’s maintained an administrative role with Ayo Foods, a business that, like many, has worked diligently to reestablish itself in a drastically different world.
 

Cooking in a pandemic

He makes a living doing web design, primarily for nonprofit organizations, but he also freelances for individuals. “When you're an entrepreneur, yourself only, you've got to make something on the side. The market always goes up and down,” he says and laughs.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he’s maintained an administrative role with Ayo Foods, a business that, like many, has worked diligently to reestablish itself in a drastically different world.
 

Cooking in a pandemic

Cooking in a pandemic

He makes a living doing web design, primarily for nonprofit organizations, but he also freelances for individuals. “When you're an entrepreneur, yourself only, you've got to make something on the side. The market always goes up and down,” he says and laughs.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he’s maintained an administrative role with Ayo Foods, a business that, like many, has worked diligently to reestablish itself in a drastically different world.
 

He makes a living doing web design, primarily for nonprofit organizations, but he also freelances for individuals. “When you're an entrepreneur, yourself only, you've got to make something on the side. The market always goes up and down,” he says and laughs.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he’s maintained an administrative role with Ayo Foods, a business that, like many, has worked diligently to reestablish itself in a drastically different world.
 

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His primary focus now, however, is Afro Bites, an authentic African food truck that will likely hit the streets of Little Rock in the coming weeks. Madere and his two Senegalese business partners want to keep the business as authentically African as possible, focusing on multiple regions and countries rather than one in particular.

“One weekend you might get Moroccan Couscous,” he says. “The next weekend you might get an Ethiopian dish, and then it might be West African Jollof Rice, then maybe something from South Africa.”

As I said, he has his hands in several cookie jars. Madere and another business partner (from Nigeria) have set up shop at Share Grounds in Searcy, AR, a kitchen incubator and aggregation center focused on helping rural food businesses overcome food production barriers, a major hurdle for many seeking to create retail-ready products.

Like the food truck, the duo at Share Grounds has three authentic African hot sauces in the works. In Africa, “we call it pepper sauce,” says Madere, “but it's not as runny.” Their first blend is called, simply, “classic”.

“It’s going to have the two typical peppers we use, especially in West Africa, Habanero, which is pretty much a staple in pepper sauce or whatever spice mix you have; the other one we have is an African Bird's Eye pepper.”

FareMarket will certainly carry these hot sauces, so Madere provided greater detail. “We'll add some seasoning and spice to give it a little bit of flair. You have some different flavor, but it’ll still be hot sauce, but not too much flavor to it. And the other two, we'll do a tropical style: mango, coconut, habanero sauce. And the last one would be milder, like a green sauce with more herbs and less heat.”

As I said, he has his hands in several cookie jars. Madere and another business partner (from Nigeria) have set up shop at Share Grounds in Searcy, AR, a kitchen incubator and aggregation center focused on helping rural food businesses overcome food production barriers, a major hurdle for many seeking to create retail-ready products.

Like the food truck, the duo at Share Grounds has three authentic African hot sauces in the works. In Africa, “we call it pepper sauce,” says Madere, “but it's not as runny.” Their first blend is called, simply, “classic”. “It’s going to have the two typical peppers we use, especially in West Africa, Habanero, which is pretty much a staple in pepper sauce or whatever spice mix you have; the other one we have is an African Bird's Eye pepper.”

FareMarket will certainly carry these hot sauces, so Madere provided greater detail. “We'll add some seasoning and spice to give it a little bit of flair. You have some different flavor, but it’ll still be hot sauce, but not too much flavor to it. And the other two, we'll do a tropical style: mango, coconut, habanero sauce. And the last one would be milder, like a green sauce with more herbs and less heat.”

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Hopefully, even more great African-inspired foods result from Madere’s work with Share Grounds, an institution that has already helped local food businesses like Garden Girl get their products retail ready.

There’s still a lot happening in the local food community, despite the pandemic. And, like Madere, many are adjusting. Be on the lookout for Afro Bites at 1702 Wright Ave in Little Rock (his food truck), Villa 9 (his hot sauce line), and catch Madere dropping off your next FareMarket order. Spark up a socially distanced conversation, if possible. You won’t regret it. At least I never do.

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