Hidden F&B: Bintou N'Daw

When you can't find home where you are, you create it. That's exactly what our guest on this month's podcast did.
Bintou N'Daw


By Helen Mitternight


Editor’s Note: Charleston is such a foodie town that food and beverage superstars are hiding in plain sight, out of theJames Beardlimelight, but still very much creating and serving amazing food and drinks. This podcast series profiles Charleston’s “Hidden F&Bs.”


She started her sauce company in New York when she and her mother couldn’t find any kind of African sauce in the supermarket.


Bintou N’Daw, founder ofNafi’s Original Sauces,fell in love with Charleston because it reminded her of her native Senegal: beautiful architecture, a thriving port and lots of French accents. She started her sauce company in New York when she and her mother couldn’t find any kind of African sauce in the supermarket. Now, she’s brought it to Charleston where she feels right at home. 


Bintou’s take


Favorite kitchen tool or gadget

A garlic press, because I use garlic all the time. 


In my refrigerator (three things)

Butter, coconut milk because I don’t drink milk. I squeeze my own coconut. And sambal, a pepper sauce. I actually had to bring it in from New York, and the first time it was in my luggage, security threw it out! 


In my pantry (three things)

I love noodles, especially Chinese noodles. Also, rice of all kinds. And so many spices I will never use them all. 


Comfort food

Did I say noodles? I don’t eat chips, I eat noodles, especially Udon noodles! 


Favorite smell

I love fish because I grew up in a port city, so it smells like home. 


Favorite drink

I’m a Jameson baby! 


Number of hours you work a week

I can’t count any more! 


Most underrated ingredient

Salt. Everybody uses it but it doesn’t get respect. Back home in Senegal, we have a pink lake and we take the salt from that and it has a flavor that is so different. 


Favorite meal to cook at home

Yassa. My mom used to make it. It’s caramelized onions with Dijon mustard and you can throw it on top of chicken and squeeze some lemon. It takes so little time, but it has so much complexity. 


Best advice a mentor gave you

I cooked with kosher chef Moshe Wendel for a long time, and he taught me to transform things with substitutions, like not using butter in French cooking because it wasn’t kosher. I use that lesson in real life to transform obstacles. 


To learn more about N’Daw, check out this month'sCharleston Grit episode of the Hidden F&B podcast,and pick up theFebruary issue of Charleston Magazine!Also, catch her duringCharleston Wine + Foodat the Spice of Life dinner Friday, March 3, atButcher & Bee,andCommunity Tablehappening March 5 at a private location to be disclosed to ticketed guests. 


Charleston isn't the only place in this country harboring hidden talent. Venture beyond the Holy City and tune into national episodes athelenmitternight.com.