An excerpt from my interview with Tamar Telahun, owner at Feedel Bistro in Atlanta.
A Home-Cooked Feel
“I was born in Ethiopia but my parents are Eritrean. I came here to the U.S. when I was 13. Everyone in my family is in the States now. Now that Feedel Bistro is open there’s a lot of the things on the menu are indicative of who we are growing up as kids. Mom cooked all the time. Her collard greens are awesome. So we put it on the menu as “Mom’s Special Gomen Be’Siga.” And it’s the number one selling dish here. Everyone says, “It’s like being in my grandmother’s kitchen!” And I think, “Thank you! That’s all I wanted you to feel.”
Feed You Like Family
“When we talk about food, I always say it’s made with love. That’s my mom. My mom shares her love with you through how she feeds you. “Home cooked” means there are no short cuts taken. Because you don’t cut corners when you’re feeding your family. When we started my mom said, “If you you’re going to do this, then you better do it right. Or I’m not helping you with nothing.” And rightfully so because she looks at it like, “Look at how I raised you. I didn’t cut corners for you. You grew up eating amazing food. As such you should serve amazing food. Otherwise don’t put it on your menu.”
Mom in the Kitchen
“Mom was a chef that was never certified in the typical American culinary school process. But by far, she’s one of the best teachers. She will show up unannounced and say “I’m going to come cook today.” And I’ll say, “Mom, you’re 81. You’re not going to come cook in the restaurant kitchen.” And she will say, “Oh yes I am.” And all I can do is say “Okay” and they just let her in. She’ll walk right in. She’s constantly talking to the kitchen staff about the quality of the food. She will actually say, “And you guys decided to cook the onions that way because…?” Then they all stop what they are doing. And I’ll say, “Oh I think I hear someone calling me out front!” and step out of there! Gotta answer to mamma!”