Episode007 - Palates in Pursuit with Sierra Leonean Chef Muriel Valentina Samuels


What happens when you make food your calling, your profession, your muse?

Our Edible Stories continues a 5-part mini-series entitled Palates in Pursuit: tales of inspiration and influence in the food industry. I chat with 5 young professionals as they discuss the people, the ideas, and the flavors that craft their unique food passions.

Health-Supportive Chef Muriel Valentina Samuels continues the series as she reveals her unexpected professional journey from corporate America to NYC culinary school and ultimately back to her native Sierra Leone to rediscover the ancestral superfoods of her culinary heritage. Now on a mission to educate the world on clean eating, Muriel is the founder of ETON Foods, a health supportive consulting firm. Her enthusiasm and expertise on nurturing a healthy lifestyle have drawn attention across West Africa, and in 2019 she was a featured speaker on BBC Media Action Sierra Leone.

Muriel’s Pantry Must-haves:
1. Piya (Avocado) as this healthy fat is a perennial favorite which can elevate most dishes, drinks or desserts with its creaminess and make you feel fuller longer.

2. Spices & Condiments: Fresh—Garlic, Ginger, Onions, Pepper, Lime with EVOO, Butter, Sea Salt, Sesame Seeds, Miso, Vanilla Bean Pods, Medjool Dates & Seaweed Seaweed Seaweed

3.Kitchenware: Silicone Spatula, Silicone Oven Mats, Solid Chef's Knife, Peeler, Dehydrator, Cast Iron Pan & Pot, Blender, Food Processor & Slow/Multi Cooker.

Muriel’s Culinary Inspirations: Ingredients, flavors, cooking techniques & culture of Sierra Leone, Japan & Thailand. Many chefs including:
Myra Kornfeld for her extreme focus on teaching to empower audiences & next-level delicious meals.
Michael Symon for that intense focus on excellence mixed with humor and a relaxed working environment. Chef Jill Burns for her focus on clean, health-supportive eating. Chef Celine Beitchman for her dedication to doing the right thing, always, and enriching her students and stress-free energy he brings to the kitchen.

Muriel in action!

Muriel in action!

ETON Foods
Tasty Healthy-Eating Made Easy
Instagram @etonfoods

ETON Foods facilitates healthy-eating, fusing culinary culture and traditions from Sierra Leone cuisine with principles from Thai & Japanese cooking using highest quality local & seasonal ingredients to produce nourishing & tasty dishes.

We Teach, Train & Consult individuals, groups and businesses using practical tips and easy application to dispel the myth that healthy eating is time consuming, expensive, and worst of all, tasteless.

ETON Foods Pillars include:

·Plant-based with real and seasonal ingredients
·Clean eating through highest quality, minimally processed ingredients
·Health Supportive Preparation Methods that maximize nutritional benefits
·Diversity on Plate (Ingredients, Techniques, Tastes, Textures & Temperature)
·Uncompromisingly tasty

Sprouted bean palm oil stew

Sprouted bean palm oil stew

Sweet potato crumble

Sweet potato crumble

Muriel capturing the scents of her ingredients

Muriel capturing the scents of her ingredients

Muriel’s Sprouted Bean Palm Oil Stew with Sweet Potato Crumble


Onions—2 large white + 1 large red (Sauté Slice)
Tomatoes—2C tightly packed
Garlic—6 cloves crushed
Ginger—2 T grated
Cayenne Pepper—1/4 t
Smoked Paprika—1T
Toasted Cumin Seeds—1t
Red palm oil (Can substitute Coconut Oil)—1/4 C
Sprouted/Non Sprouted Black-eyed Peas or Black beans—2 Cups
Kombu Seaweed—4 inch square piece
Sweet Potato—1/2 C mashed w pinch of salt
Lime or Coconut Vinegar—Start with 1t then adjust to taste.
Salt - to taste


With 3T Red Palm Oil, caramelize onions for 5mins and gradually add fresh tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika & toasted cumin in a sauté pan.

In a separate sauce pot, add beans and a piece kombu seaweed. Hard boil and then simmer to desired tenderness until the water is almost gone. (I often prefer my beans a bit al dente but for this recipe, I simmer to mushy tenderness.

Add onion mixture, palm oil & salt. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Turn off stove and add either fresh lime or coconut vinegar. Taste. Adjust, if necessary.

Sweet Potato Crumble

Sauté mashed sweet potatoes in a bit of palm oil on medium-low heat, occasionally stirring and remove when crispy and falling apart.

Serve beans in a bowl and top with sweet potato crumble. I often also add sliced cucumbers and/or avocados as well. Taste. Adjust. Enjoy.

Vegan | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Egg Free | Dairy Free | Heart Healthy | Fiber Rich | Clean

© All Rights Reserved, ETON Foods 2019