Entrepreneur: Meqdes Mesfin

Meqdes gets help from her son and daughter at the 2018 ArtBeat Festival in Davis Square.

From: Ethiopia
Specialty:  Ethiopian fare
Her story: Meqdes cooks Ethiopian food, which offers a wide variety of  vegan fare, including lentil salad, and injera bread topped with your choice of  “wots” (stews): which can be spicy or mild. She points out that what makes Ethiopian cuisine unique is how it is naturally accommodating to a variety of dietary restrictions-  If the injera is made exclusively with teff, the entire meal is is gluten free! Furthermore, there are no nuts in Ethiopian foods. Moreover, Meqdes strives to source her ingredients locally as much as she can.
Nibble projects and culinary business dream: Meqdes has been wanting to introduce Ethiopian food to the mainstream market for a long time. She tells us, “Part of the reason I started [Adey Foods] was because I wanted Ethiopian food to be more out there, to be more readily available, for whomever wanted it. For at home and for eating out.” Meqdes started Adey Foods and sold at farmers’ markets and did catering and popup restaurants for a couple of years. After Adey Foods went into hiatus, Nibble offered her the opportunity to start teaching cooking classes. In the future, she wishes to continue growing her food business and to keep bringing her knowledge of flavor, ingredients and the overall food process to the greater community.

Meqdes preparing her popular dish–gomen (braised cabbage)

Favorite cooking utensil: Her favorite cooking utensil is a specific grill called the mitad. She tells us, “It’s because that is what you use to make injera with.”
In her words: “This sounds cliche, but I learned a lot from my grandmother. Perhaps not so much the details of recipes and such, but the resourcefulness, the innovative qualities. In the very traditional society where she was raised, creativity, particularly in the kitchen, was not really a thing. She was considered a lady, and ladies didn’t cook, but she didn’t have a problem getting her hands dirty. She would come up with her own creations and actually felt very comfortable being the one who produced those creations. That’s who my hero is in this world and in the world of the cooking.”

Celebrating Ethiopian New Year!