Harouna Sow

Harouna Sow, originally from Mauritania, discovered French culture through cooking after leaving Mali to take refuge in France in 2012. He discovered the culinary profession as a volunteer at Roland-Garros, where chef Alain Losbar helped him discover his calling. After stints at the Pullman Tour Eiffel and the Royal Monceau, he set up as an independent chef and caterer. He brilliantly blends West African and French flavors, particularly in his restaurant Waalo, in Paris, where he offers seasonal, plant-based and accessible cuisine.

In 2020, he became involved with Refugee Food as a volunteer, directing and training refugees as chefs. During the coronavirus crisis, he coordinated the production of over 33,000 meals for the most vulnerable. He is currently a chef trainer in the kitchens of the Cité de Refuge run by the Salvation Army, where he continues to produce over 450 meals a day for the food aid program. Harouna dreams of one day moving to Senegal to set up an organic farm and schools to promote local heritage and train a new generation of cooks.

At the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, in recognition of his journey and commitment, he was selected to carry the Olympic flame, symbolizing peace, hope and unity. On hearing the news over the phone, his mother told him, “My son, when you light the flame for someone, you’ll always get a reward afterwards!”.


Refugee Food

Refugee Food was born out of a week-long festival held throughout France: restaurateurs open their kitchens to collaborate with refugee cooks to create four-hand menus. Created in 2016 by Marine Mandrila and Louis Martin, the project aims to change perceptions about refugees through cooking, accelerate their socio-professional integration, and promote fair and sustainable food for all. To this end, Refugee Food is also an association whose missions include raising public awareness, a training organization and an integration enterprise managed by chef Harouna Sow.

Other engaged people

Discover the inspiring faces of committed chefs. We’re highlighting these culinary enthusiasts who stand out for their societal actions and their commitment to a better future. Explore the profiles of renowned chefs, rising stars and emerging talents, and dive into their projects and initiatives. Each featured chef offers a unique insight into his or her personal commitment.