Selassie Atakida is a Ghanaian culinary chef who has made waves in the world of fine cuisine. She is one of our extraordinary voices in this month. One thing that is very noticeable in our extraordinary series is how these women have been able to make impact in their various professions and create a niche for themselves. We explore how Selassie has made a name for herself by mastering the art of cooking.
Selassie Atadika has always been interested in cooking since she was about four or five years old and it is pretty much not a surprise to anyone that she is invested in the art of food. But it’s quite shocking to know that she wasn’t always a chef. Selassie dreamt of going to culinary school but alas, due to objections from her father, she ended up in a successful career with the United Nations. Even at that, she never stopped cooking. She never forgot her passion. She says;
“But I still kept cooking,”
Selassie’s career in the United Nations first started with her working as a civilian in UN peace keeping missions in Angola and Kosovo before she eventually started work with the UNICEF on humanitarian projects all over Africa. She cites how her career with the UN gave her the opportunity to experience the different traditional foods in different countries in Africa;
“I would explore the local cuisine and then try to figure out how those ingredients could be played around with,” she says.
Selassie eventually resigned from the UN to focus on her cooking. She and two of her friends started a pop-up restaurant in Dakar, Senegal where they served food once a month at different locations in the city.
She founded the Midunu- a company with its name derived from the Ewe language which means “let us eat.” The company is centered on catering for private parties and corporate events, but the company also throws monthly nomadic dinners in different locations in Accra. She speaks on how she wants the world to see African food and for the world to take notice of the beauty that is African cuisine. She highlights how with globalization; a lot of African cuisine is being forgotten;
“With globalization and urbanization, a lot of things are getting lost”
[Tweet ““Beyond celebrating Africa’s culinary heritage, I want to look at preserving Africa’s culinary heritage””]
She uses ingredients from different places in Africa to celebrate our diverse culinary heritage and also to preserve it;
“Beyond celebrating Africa’s culinary heritage, I want to look at preserving Africa’s culinary heritage”
She not only cooks but uses the different spices in Africa to produce chocolate. She says it’s like telling the story in a simple way when people taste chocolate and taste a spice or flavor that is African. A connection of people and culture;
“It’s telling the African story through chocolate”
She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Selassie Atadika.