Tune in or Stream August 14
Outside of Ethiopia, Washington, D.C. has the largest population of Ethiopians in the world, so the city feels like a homecoming to Marcus even though he’s never lived there. He visits a market in Little Ethiopia, talks about the spiritual rituals that are so closely connected with the cuisine, enjoys Ethiopian staples like kifto and injera, and celebrates the culture’s traditions through cooking, dance and a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
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Faces of D.C.
Local Washington, D.C., cab driver Hailu Mergia is better known as a musician. Mergia spent years playing with his band, the Walias, across their home country of Ethiopia, drawing high-paying crowds to raucous sets that blended traditional tunes with funk and jazz. The group later toured the United States to smaller crowds, and some members decided to return to Ethiopia. But Mergia stayed in the States, where the keyboardist drives a silver taxi that always has a Yamaha keyboard in the trunk. You can find music from the one-man band in local record stores, if you’re lucky.
Zenebech “Zeni” Dessu
D.C.’s Injera Queen, Zenebech Dessu moved to Washington, D.C., with her husband Gebrehanna Demissie in the early 1980s. The two met in Cairo, Egypt, after both fled their homes in Ethiopia during the height of the civil war there. Once settled in D.C., Dessu began a tiny injera business that turned into a brick-and-mortar bakery, then a grocery store, and finally a successful restaurant, all named after the baker and serving an expanded menu of Ethiopian dishes. Like many Ethiopian-Americans in the area, Dessu and her husband moved to the D.C. suburbs, and their restaurant followed suit by moving to Adams Morgan.
Mignotae Kebede grew up in Anaheim, California, to an Ethiopian father and Eritrean mother, but moved to Washington, D.C., because of the thriving African-American culture there. Soon after her arrival, she began working on a film called What Happened 2 Chocolate City, which tells the story of Black Washingtonians and the driving forces behind their decline. In addition to writing and directing, Kebede is the development manager at Life Pieces to Masterpieces, which offers developmental programs to black boys and men. She also runs a nonprofit that fundraises to build a sustainable school in Nazareth, Ethiopia.
Where Marcus Visited in D.C.
Meet Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, Marcus at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda, Norda Bar & Grill in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in 2017, Red Rooster Shoreditch in London and Marcus B&P in Newark. He has thrilled the food scene with a blend of culture and artistic excellence, first catching the attention of the culinary world at Aquavit. During his tenure as executive chef there, he received an impressive three-star rating from The New York Times, the youngest person ever to receive such an accolade. Continue Reading