Tutu's Ethiopian Table
Hidden away in a corner of Reading is a taste of Ethiopia. Owner and founder of Tutu's Ethiopian Table, Tutu Melaku was born in Addis Ababa. She moved to Reading in 1992 and has been running her cafe for almost three years.
BBC Berkshire's Louise Chandler met Tutu on Thursday night, when her cafe in London Road puts on a buffet spread of Ethiopian dishes.
A traditional Ethiopian dish
"I grew up with a big family, nine kids, a lot of food and eating." said Tutu. "The reason I started cooking here is because people don't know about Ethiopian food.
"People think of Ethiopia as a place where people are dying of hunger. I just wanted to show people in Reading that we have Ethiopian food. So that was an opportunity for me. "
Tutu said she had been happy growing up in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
"In Ethiopia we weren't rich, we weren't poor, but we were alright." she said: "We were a very happy family. I don't believe you need a lot of money to be a happy family!"
Tutu decided to set up her cafe at the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) after starting up a successful mobile catering business from home.
"I think I am the blessed one to come from Africa to Reading to share my food, my culture. I'm so happy and so proud of it." she told Louise.
Injera: a flat Ethiopian pancake with a slight sour-dough taste.
Doro Wot: The national dish of Ethiopia, chicken simmered in spiced butter (kibae), berbere, onion and seasonings.
Zelzel Tibs: Strips of fried beef, cooked with onion, pepper, rosemary and butter.
Misr Wot: Spiced lentils
Ater Wot: Curried split peas
Tickel Gomen: White cabbage and potatoes
Kosta: Spinach fried with herbs and garlic
"I think what makes my food unique is me! The way I cook it is fresh and straight from my kitchen."
Since starting up her business in 2006, Tutu has won a Habesha Business Association Innovative Business Award in 2009, and a Pride of Reading Award in 2008 judged by celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson.
She's even been paid a visit by Chris Tarrant.
"Chris Tarrant said he had never tasted food like that before. " said Tutu.
"I love my cooking because I know everything is fresh. I care about my food and I care about my customer. I'm single with two kids and I'm really driven by my job!
"People come to eat my food and I don't want to let them down."
And Louise's verdict on the Ethiopian food?
"It's just like my mum used to make!" she said. "It's very tasty, and Tutu is so full of energy and enthusiasm, you can taste that in the flavours of the food."
Listen to Louise Chandler from 21:00–22:00 every Sunday for news from the African and Caribbean communities in Berkshire.
last updated: 31/07/2009 at 16:48
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