Off the Menu – By FLORENCE FABRICANT

June 19th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Marcus Samuelsson, the executive chef of Aquavit, who was born in Ethiopia, plans to open Merkato by mid-September. (more…)

Marcus Samuelsson, the executive chef of Aquavit, who was born in Ethiopia, plans to open Merkato by mid-September.


MERKATO Building on his latest book, “The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa”? (John Wiley, 2006), Marcus Samuelsson, the executive chef of Aquavit, who was born in Ethiopia, plans to open Merkato by mid-September. The name is that of the largest food market in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He will offer his interpretation of dishes from all over Africa, with forays into Brazil and the Caribbean, in what had been Sascha: 55-61 Gansevoort Street (Ninth Avenue).

  1. | #1

    Dear Sir

    It is very encouraging to hear that a famous chef of Ethiopian origin is going to open a new site. But in my humble opinion, the name Merkato is an Italian name for market. What is more it symbolizes the 5 years of occupation of Ethiopia by fascist Italy during which time this name was given to this market place. If anything, the name Merkato conjures up painful memories of this period. I do not think that we should honour a name which reminds us of an Italian fascist legacy. We should not froget that during that war 730000 Ethiopians were killed during the 5 years of Italian occupation of Ethiopia. Please consider giving your business an indigenous Ethiopian name that is truly Ethiopian (for example an Ethiopian place name, historical or cultural names, or unique Ethiopian fauna, etc) name that is authentically Ethiopian. I hope you will reconsider your decision with regard to the name Merkato.

    With best regards,

    Assefa Negash, M.D.
    Amstelveen, the Netherlands

  2. Dagnachew Megersa
    | #2

    It is really shame even his name is changed to samuelsson(swedish).I am ashamed of ethiopians immitating ferenji names willingly,with out any pressure from outside.i don’t understand why we want to lose our identity, the only wealth we have left with.

    Dangnachew Megersa

  3. fish
    | #3

    I didn’t think that way but i completely agree with Dr.Assefa’s perspective. It could be a business strategy but we should also keep our tradition.

  4. Abiy
    | #4

    Dangachew, ooops.. Man! You realy don’t know what you are talking about?

    NO Ethiopian who has followed the history of Samuelson will dare say what you said. Ok? Samuelson has nothing to do with the naming of his name. His sweedish parents are. They have every reason to call him what they want because it is they who shaped his upbringing and contributed to who he is today. Samuelson is mostly is the pride of Ethiopia and Africa at large. Dangachew please read more about this great guy who make us proud and you will know why I made this comments.

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