Selassie Atadika's passion for food bubbles over. Sitting in her home in the Ghanian capital Accra, the names of African dishes and ingredients roll off her tongue: red plantain roll, "Kofi Broke Man", bissap vinaigrette (flavoured with the bright red hibiscus flower). Although Ghana-born and US-raised, she is an advocate for all of Africa's myriad cuisines. Her mission, from Accra, is to bring them to a wider audience.
This is part of the thinking behind her Accra-based culinary business Midunu, which means "Let us eat" in the Ewe language spoken in southern Ghana and neighbouring Togo. Midunu hosts pop-up "nomadic dinners" around the city, aimed squarely at the "upper end of the market", she says, in order to create demand for more locally grown ingredients, such as brown rice, which Ghanaians have started to reject in favour of white rice imported from Asia. "I'm trying to make some of this stuff sexy so that the people who have money are willing to pay for it."
Adapting old recipes is key. Her go-to gluten-free dessert, for example, is based on one of her favourite dishes from Liberia, rice bread - made with overripe plantain and rice instead of flour - and mixed with a Ghanaian street food classic, Kofi Broke Man. This dish of groundnuts and roasted plantain, she says, is an affordable snack "you get on the roadside, the plantain is roasted right there, so it's hot". Her version, which she's named Kofi Rich Man, is the Liberian plantain cake, layered with a peanut-flavoured cream based on something she tasted in Ghana's Volta region. "A classic combination," she says. "Kofi is no more broke, he's rich. What's he going to eat now that he has money and is still respecting those flavours?"