Up and Running
A taste of home
By Joni Moths Mueller
Yollande Tchouapi Deacon, Grad ’03, didn’t know Marquette and she didn’t know Milwaukee when Dr. Thomas Bausch, then dean of the College of Business Administration, offered her a graduate student scholarship. She came. She studied. And in time she grew hungry for the tastes of home.
“I got homesick and started cooking,” says Deacon, a native of Cameroon in West Africa. Cooking led to bottling, which led to a product line based on family recipes.
She called it Afro Fusion Cuisine, and it was a hit at the Tosa Farmers Market, Wauwatosa, Wis.
But demand for Africa’s aromas outgrew her tabletop distribution. Wauwatosa foodies — and others — wanted more. So Deacon and her family complied, opening Irie Zulu restaurant in 2015 to serve up the foods and cultures of Africa and Jamaica. It’s a way, she says, to conjoin her expertise in the social sciences — she wrote her dissertation on the culture of West Africa — with her training as a culinary expert.
At Irie Zulu, diners experience flavors from the north and south and east and west corners of the continent and Jamaica. They also get to taste pieces of culture in sponsored events and cooking classes.
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