In the 1970s, Tejnesh (Emmodish) Benti was the head researcher in the Experimental Kitchen department of the Ethiopian Nutrition Institute. Her team’s lab work refined traditional recipes, tweaking ingredients and cooking practices to naturally enhance the nutritional value of Ethiopian staple foods. The Institute used these findings as educational resources for its public initiatives, including maternal health and school feeding programs.
Emmodish took her expertise into her own kitchen when the Institute was dissolved in the early 1990s. This was when her passion for Ethiopian cuisine really blossomed. She created her own spice blends that she sifted into staple dishes, making her already nutritiously rich meals sing with flavor.
Before she founded Arki, Emmodish began to notice that as Addis Ababa’s population grew, fewer and fewer people had the open air and space necessary to prepare traditional flours & spice blends in their own homes. Increasingly, she would get requests from extended family to prepare their year’s provision of berbere and shiro.
Her recipes had always been popular but it was then that demand for them grew. The idea for Arki sparked then and developed steadily, along with Emmodish’s excitement that she could share her four decades in nutrition science and original recipes with a wider audience.
It was in this way that Emmodish founded Arki as a labor of love, her offering to everyone who wants to cook clean and eat meals that sing with flavor.