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ESSENCE Eats: Her Son Bought Her a Restaurant and She Made It a Local Ethiopian Favorite

ESSENCE Eats host Charli Penn spends an intimate evening inside Meals by Genet, one of L.A.’s top Ethiopian eateries, with owner and sole chef Genet Agonafer, whose charm and delicious menus bring the crowds.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[MUSIC] My name is Genet Agonafer. I own Meals by Genet restaurant, and I've had it for 15 years. [MUSIC] Genet, tell me what makes Ethiopian food unique. Food is very important in Ethiopia. When you have Birth in the family, death in the family, holidays, that's all we do. We just get around, everything is eat, eat, and eat. So food is really the epicenter of everything. Everything. I'm the only cook in this kitchen, believe it or not, that's crazy, I know. My son used to tell me mom, your cooking needs to be duplicated Teach somebody. I tried for the first even years, but it don't work, but I'm happy doing it. I have incredible people, Sean is my lead server. Some people just come for him, really. I tell him, you're taking [LAUGH] away from the food. [MUSIC] So what are we gonna be sampling here today? The traditional darowit. Okay, so how do I So what you do is, take a piece of engetta and roll it up and you can pick anything you want. You can pick two things, three things, they go very well together. I see. And then that's it. Okay. That's magical. Thank God. In my country, actually I'm supposed to and the way we eat is, we believe only animals eat for [INAUDIBLE]. So I will do this, cut that chicken for you. I hope this is not too spicy. No, thank you! And then this is called gursha. So you never eat in Ethiopia for yourself. You feed each other. And then now, in my country, if I give you gursha once, I have to give it to you again. Otherwise, we believe we fight. Seriously. [LAUGH] Seriously. really. And I don't wanna fight with you yet. You have to do it twice? [CROSSTALK] At least twice. Okay. This is delicious. Thank you. It's just so intimate and romantic to just share a meal with the ones you love that. It's a nice thing. It's a great place for a date. Night. It is. I have a customer, actually it's funny maybe I shouldn't say that on camera. He brings them here to check if they are like, I don't want to eat with my hands. what is this? He doesn't bring them back. So this is his test. [LAUGH] I love it. It really is. [MUSIC] I knew I was gonna open a restaurant. Someday. I always knew that. But I'm very, very grateful. I have to tell you. I'm just so happy I love the food. I love your energy. Thank you. I adore you. I wish I lived here so I can come back. Thank you. I adore you too. Thank you so much.