Culinary Magic

Didier Alipini“Take a pinch of Mexican cayenne, a teaspoon of Indian curry, a dollop of cream cheese and a hint of lavender” – sounds like the recipe for a magic spell and in a way – it is. Didier Alapini cooks up magic everyday at L’Appat his international fusion restaurant located at the corner of Oak and Champion in the heart of Olde Towne. Didier, who immigrated to the US from the African nation of Benin in 1998, learned to cook from his mother who had started a catering business in the late 1980’s. Benin had been a French colony so its cuisine has a strong French as well as African influence.Not one to stay idle, Didier who has degrees in physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, biology and nutrition planned to obtain a doctorate in Nutrition and Food Science and Biochemistry at OSU. He was moved to go into the catering and restaurant business while watching a television program where a scientist demonstrated how to make BBQ sauce in his own kitchen. Didier had an epiphany, exclaiming, “I can do that!”

His experience with the typical sugary, salty, greasy and carbohydrate heavy American cuisine inspired him to focus his recipes on balancing flavors, replacing the salt, sugar and fat with herbs and spices from around the world. The results are entrees, sandwiches and pastries low in salt, sugar and fat but high in deliciousness! He has developed a collection of over 1,700 items both savory and sweet. Diabetics and others with health issues can eat at L’Appat guilt free. Didier also has a thriving catering business.

Marshmallow Ice Tea, Moroccan Cigars, Italian Sesame CookiesCustomers may be pleasantly surprised to see that white tablecloths, real silverware and fresh flowers grace each of the five tables. His display case features the creative merging of flavors: Madagascar fig tarts, Mexican inspired chocolate and hot pepper cookies, coconut guava chausson (a French turnover) and cakes and torts of all descriptions. One new creation is a French curry potato cake combined with Moroccan tagine made with African and Jamaican jerked chicken. Other savory items include chicken and beef pastries served with exotic but flavorful sauces.

When he first moved to Columbus in 1998 Didier got lost at the corner of Oak and Champion. At the time that spot was pretty rough but he has seen steady, quiet improvement in Olde Towne and wants his restaurant to be part of the neighborhood evolution…serving mostly take out items including salads and desserts, and catering to audiences attending events at the Lincoln Theater.

Take the time to step into a world of innovative cuisine and gracious dining here in the heart of Olde Towne! L’Appat is located at 1159 Oak Street – no reservations needed. Oh, and they brew a delicious cup of coffee for only 99 cents!