Yet another food truck has opened in Durango, but it has a familiar face.
Chef Arnold Safari Ngumbao is back and has brought together all of the flavors of Africa with his new food truck, Chef Safari’s African Fusion.
Many know Safari for his time working at The Strater Hotel, his restaurant Eat Zawadi or even catering at Durango’s annual Juneteenth celebration.
At the age of 10, Safari began his culinary adventure, motivated by his late father’s work as a chef at one of Kenya’s most prestigious resorts.
Safari had a professional path thanks to his father’s experience. After high school, he followed his father’s advice and enrolled in Kenya Utalii College, Africa’s first culinary school, in Nairobi.
Safari’s truck is located in the parking lot of Ted’s Rentals & Sales at 999 E. College Drive.
He was a chef without borders in Africa, allowing him to cook in different regions of the country and learn the continent’s different recipes.
“(I was) teaching people how to eat well on a low budget, and that’s why I got all my recipes from every country in Africa,” Safari said. “So my food trailer is based on that African fusion cuisine.”
He said what made him interested in the spot at Ted’s Rentals is because the owner, Ted Hermesman, used to buy food from him at Eat Zawadi and knew his product. But it was mainly because of city regulations involving food trucks.
“The city has got such tight regulations that you need to get a specific building in town where you’re going to be connected with sewer electricity, water and all that good regulations, which already the buildings here attaining. So based on that, I’ve tried every place in town,” Safari said.
He said business has been a bit slow lately because fall is a slower season for visitors, but he’s confident in his product and says when the temperatures drop, people tend to enjoy spiced food.
“The spices that come along with my cuisine keep people warm,” he said.
Safari’s menu offers a few different appetizers including an African Curry and Beetroot Hummus, as well as African dry-rub masala fries. Entrees include dishes like Ethiopian spiced beef curry and Moroccan spiced lamb. The menu also offers a plethora of different kebabs.
Appetizers cost from $6 to $18, depending on size and type of food, while entrees can range from $13 to $20 per meal.
For the time being, Safari says he’s content with serving from the food truck rather than a brick-and-mortar establishment like he did previously. He said the sky is the limit, and he just wants to share the fruits of his culinary experience.
Chef Safari’s African Fusion is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.