Hi, I’m Tutu Melaku, the founder and owner of Tutu’s Ethiopian Table. I was born and grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia and was one of a large and happy family, living outside the city in a pleasant house where cooking was a real enthusiasm.
My sisters and I spent many hours learning the basic skills from our ever-energetic mother and family meals were the real focus of the day when we would all sit round the large table and share the delicious and varied foods that were on offer.
I was so happy to be able to bring my cooking to Reading in 1991. I have settled well here now and have two delightful (well I think so) children who thankfully both enjoy the subtle flavours of Ethiopian cuisine.
My cooking helped me win the Restaurant of the Year in the Pride of Reading awards in 2008. The title was judged by celebrity chefs Daniel Galmiche and Antony Worrall Thompson, with Chris Tarrant presenting the awards and it was very nice to receive this recognition.
In 2009 we also received the Innovative Business Award in London from the Habesha Business Association, an organisation that recognises excellence in Ethiopian businesses in the UK.
The award was inscribed “In recognition of your many outstanding achievements and contributions to the community throughout the year.” In 2010 I was named as Reading Food Hero as well as winner of the lovely lunch 2013 Retail awards.
I have tried to adapt my recipes a little to British tastes while staying close to the genuine flavours of Ethiopian food. I avoid the overuse of the herbs and spices that are so typical of good Ethiopian food and instead try to use them with real care and I think I have a finely developed instinct for flavours now.
The result, we hope, is stimulating, delicious and certainly varied. I would really like to thank everyone for their support of our restaurant over the years. Our success has allowed us to help support 8 children around Ethiopia through school and recently helped sponsor the building of a new classroom at two schools.