Living the American Dream
By developing a passion for his craft and never losing sight of his desire to help his family, Abdoulaye Koné worked his way from a clay hut in Ivory Coast to the lofty heights of the World Trade Center, where he was a pastry chef at Windows on the World. "When he first came to this country he was working at a little five-and-dime store," said his wife, Celestine Koné. "He wanted to be successful and probably open up his own business."
Mr. Koné went to culinary school in France to learn pastry making. "He was a very, very sophisticated and educated guy," Mrs. Koné said, listing the languages he learned after the Mandingo and French that he spoke in Africa: English, Spanish, German, a little Italian.
His pastry creations were made to be eaten, but he preserved a photographic record of them in a big binder that Mrs. Koné has saved.
He sent money home to Ivory Coast, and was fond of saying that he worked for his son, Lacina, 8, and daughter, Mama, 5. On his rare days off, Mr. Koné, who lived in the Bronx, spent time taking the children out, sometimes to museums and once to the Statue of Liberty, but more often than not, he took them to see his friends, chefs at other restaurants.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on May 19, 2002.