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​​HOME COOKING; A Chef's Greatest Influence Comes From Africa: Mom​​​​
IN the kitchen at Signatures, an upscale restaurant midway between the Capitol and the White House, Morou Ouattara is the chef, moving swiftly with his assistants in his wake, awaiting his orders.
But on this day he has become a boy again. His mother is visiting from their home in Ivory Coast, and she will not let him cook, at least not in her presence.
''It is a question of tradition,'' said his mother, Constance Hallange Ouattara, speaking in French. ''If a man knows how to cook, it is a sign that a woman is not doing her job. There is no respect.''
Mr. Ouattara, 37, moved to the United States in 1988 to live with his older brother, Amadou, in Washington and study computer science. They worked nights in local kitchens, where they found their true callings. Both are now chefs, his brother at an Italian restaurant in Gaithersburg, Md.
It was as a dishwasher at Ristorante I Ricchi in Washington that Mr. Ouattara got his start at a stove, when one of the cooks quit and he became an emergency replacement. Like many immigrant cooks, Mr. Ouattara has learned new customs and techniques as he tried to please the public and create what he calls an American cuisine with international influences. 
     Click: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/25/dining/home-cooking-a-chef-s-greatest-influence-comes-from-africa-mom.html

Northern Virginia Magazine

Deconstruction Zone: Farrah Olivia
Morou Ouattara, who dazzled diners at Red Sage and Signatures, has moved to Old Town Alexandria. All his exploding tapioca beads, Merlot powders, and berbere-spiked sauces make for an often thrilling ride.

The juxtaposition of ingredients is so challenging and the arrangements so unusual that you’re apt to spend much of your meal playing culinary sleuth with your tablemates—“Does anyone taste anise in here?”—or insisting that your server repeat the ingredients list one more time.

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