Chef Ilona Daniel: Bringing the Cuisine of Ethiopia to P.E.I., Canada

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“My trip to Ethiopia was an unexpected blessing that has changed my life, as all of my travels do,” Chef Ilona Daniel of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

By Stephen Brun (The Guardian) |

It has been about a month and half since I’ve returned from Africa, and I’m still finding new lessons and perspectives from my brief, yet transformative trip.

I was invited by Philip Baker, Canadian ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, to be the hosting chef for the Canada 150 celebrations at the Canadian embassy in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.


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Creating a menu utilizing both Canadian and Ethiopian ingredients was no small feat. As a chef, two skills one must continually hone are the ability to be adaptable and a sense of imagination. The concept of Canadian cuisine is one I often reflect upon, as it can be very difficult to clearly define. We are a nation which celebrates diversity in culture, and cuisine is a cornerstone of cultural identity. We have roots and traditions that range from our First Nations to the countless waves of immigrants from all corners of the earth. I wanted to express my love for as much of our cultural tapestry as possible, while keeping it simple, straightforward and approachable.

I knew lobster was a key ingredient; what better way to champion and celebrate Prince Edward Island? It was a surreal moment in my career, preparing lobster rolls in Africa, and is still something I can hardly believe I had the opportunity to do. The nearly 1,000 guests of the ambassador loved our lobster, I must joyfully share.

Another important, and in many ways the most treasured part of my trip, was the request to work with local women to prepare this meal. Part of the diplomatic mission for Canada in Ethiopia is to help raise the status of women and children. I shared my knowledge, skills and stories with female cooks and expressed the wisdom I have learned along the way, which has allowed me to develop a strong personal brand. Ultimately, I feel I am the one who learned the most. Life is truly a wonder when viewed through the lens of simplicity, and authenticity. I enjoyed cooking and sharing stories with my kitchen crew. I will never forget it.

Continue reading this story at The Guardian
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Travel Guide: Where to Stay, See and Eat in Ethiopia

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Guide: Traveling to Ethiopia serves as the gateway to all history lessons and books documenting the history of this amazing country, and you will have the front row seat, experiencing this joyous cultural ride.

By Melissa Henderson (EBONY) |

Ethiopia is located in the ‘Horn of Africa’ along the northeast region of the continent and contains more than 70% of Africa’s mountains. Ethiopia, also known as the Cradle of Mankind, is home to the oldest humanoid on earth, the ancient Aksumite Empire, Ark of the Covenant, and countless historical museums and churches including Debre Birhan Selassie Church. Ethiopia stands at the forefront of African nations as it was the only African country to withstand European colonization during the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and is a founding member of the United Nations. Addis Ababa, which means ‘New Flower’, is often referred to as the ‘Political Capital of Africa’ as it is the headquarters for the African Union. The flourishing capital of Ethiopia offers a variety of authentic restaurants, theaters and the burial grounds of Emperor Selassie I. If touring Addis Ababa takes your breath away, just wait until you visit the countless rock-hewn churches in Lalibela and the beautiful castles of Gondar. Traveling to Ethiopia serves as the gateway to all history lessons and books documenting the history of this amazing country, and you will have the front row seat, experiencing this joyous cultural ride.

Ethiopia stands at the forefront of African nations as it was the only African country to withstand European colonization during the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and is a founding member of the United Nations. Addis Ababa, which means ‘New Flower’, is often referred to as the ‘Political Capital of Africa’ as it is the headquarters for the African Union. The flourishing capital of Ethiopia offers a variety of authentic restaurants, theaters and the burial grounds of Emperor Selassie I. If touring Addis Ababa takes your breath away, just wait until you visit the countless rock-hewn churches in Lalibela and the beautiful castles of Gondar.


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Continue reading this story at EBONY
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Messob Platter at Abyssinian in Chennai, India

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Called a messob platter, it has a sitting down at a traditional low table, with all eating from the same large steel platter, at Abyssinian Ethiopian Restaurant in Alwarpet, central Chennai, India.

By Raul Dias (The Hindu) |

I’ve always believed that Chennai is a great food city for the experimental diner and this fact has been proven to me time and again. And that super muggy April afternoon was no different, as I sat down to a traditional Ethiopian meal at Abyssinian, the eight-month-old Ethiopian cuisine restaurant in Alwarpet.

Having eaten Ethiopian food—in Liverpool, the U.K., of all places during my student days there—I had a fair understanding of what was in store for me and my rather clueless friends. Called a messob platter, the main meal is meant for four people. And this is had sitting down at a traditional low table, with all eating from the same large steel platter.


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Onto this, a soft, spongy neer dosa meets appam-like bread called injera (which can be made from an indigenous Ethiopian grass called teff, rice and in our case ragi or finger millet) is first placed as a lining (and more rolls on the side) onto which each diner gets their own daub of yummy dishes.

And thus began a procession of delectable offerings like yebeg bozena shiro, a delicious mutton and chickpea powder-based dish, slow-cooked with Ethiopia’s popular—and spicy—red berbere sauce. Misir wot, a divine (and beautifully colored) combination of split red lentils simmered in spicy berbere sauce was next. The simple, yet flavorful fasolia followed, which is a dish of string beans, sautéed with carrots and caramelized onions.

Continue reading this story at The Hindu
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Ronan Scully (of Gorta Self Help Africa) Looking for Longford (Ireland) Participants for the Great Ethiopian Run in November

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Renowned Gorta Self Help Africa worker, Ronan Scully is undertaking the Great Ethiopian Run again this November, and he is looking for Longford volunteers to join him.

By Alan Walsh (Longford Leader) |

Scully has already signed up close to a dozen participants to run and walk with him on the annual event of Great Ethiopian Run, a 10km walking and running challenge through the heart of Addis Ababa on November 26.

A number of places are still left on the expedition, and Mr Scully is on the lookout for any participants who would like to join them. To take part, competitors are asked to raise at least €3,000 in sponsorship support – which will cover all costs of a trip that will also include tours of the city and a short field trip to parts of rural Ethiopia to see Gorta Self Help Africa’s work in rural Ethiopia.


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With his role as a business developer for Gorta Self Help Africa, he understands better than most the challenges faced by families all around Africa: “Since I started working with Gorta Self Help Africa the entire focus has been on food – and particularly how it can be grown in difficult conditions and tough climates in the developing world. I may have had my own struggles with food in the past, but the weight loss challenges that I faced on RTE’s Operation Transformation are absolutely nothing to the ordeal that millions of Africans face in putting enough food on the table and providing for their families, simply to survive.

“These issues have come into sharp focus with the famine and drought in parts of Africa at present and especially in Ethiopia where some 10 million people and in Malawi where some 6.5 million people and children are affected with food shortages and hunger because of the effects of climate change, but at Gorta Self Help Africa we are continuing to say that while we must respond to the emergency, we can only help to bring an end to these terrible stories if we provide people with the wherewithal to live a life free from hunger and poverty. At Gorta Self Help Africa we are doing that by providing farming communities with good quality seed, by supporting the development of irrigation, and by a whole host of other measures that can give people some protection from the kinds of problems they are facing in parts of Africa today”.

Continue reading this story at Longford Leader
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Explore Ethiopian Cuisine in Edgewater Neighborhood of Chicago

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Demera Ethiopian Restaurant is in Chicago’s edgy Edgewater neighborhood. It is about 15 minutes north of the Loop on the redline — close to the lake shore and filled with vintage theaters, bars and interesting eateries.

By John Cummings (daily-journal.com) |

Kankakeeans are so lucky to live in such proximity to world-class cuisine. From Indonesian to Korean to Hungarian to Ethiopian — in Chicago, you can have it all!

If you’re a foodie as I am, you’ll be happy that it’s about the eats this time around for Date Me! We are going to Demera Ethiopian Restaurant. I stumbled across this quaint gem one evening of wandering the city streets having a craving for something delicious.


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Demera is in Chicago’s edgy Edgewater neighborhood. It is about 15 minutes north of the Loop on the redline — close to the lake shore and filled with vintage theaters, bars and interesting eateries. Edgewater should be on your list. Demera looks like a hole in the wall, but make no mistake. This place is delicious! It is Michelin Guide recommended!

To start, I recommend the sambussas. These are the Ethiopian version of empanadas, and they are just the perfect amount of crunchy and savory. You can have your sambussa filled with beef, chicken, tuna, spinach or lentils. I liked the chicken and spinach best.

Skip the salads, of course, and go straight for the meat! If you like things on the spicy side, you are at the right place. The Ye-Beg Wot (lamb) and the Ye-Siga Wot (beef) are absolutely delicious and have the perfect amount of kick. Demera is Ethiopian-style dining, so be prepared to eat with your hands.

Continue reading this story at daily-journal.com
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