Asamnew Asres was a structural engineer with a consulting firm in Eritrea before religious persecution forced him to leave the country.
Now, after being granted asylum and spending 10 years working in engineering in the UK, he is about to open an Abyssinian restaurant with his wife Rahel Bein and business partner Bizunesh Kebede.
City Tastes & Tipples: Mocca Moocho
He decided to set up Corarima because of his wife’s passion for food and his desire to give something from his culture to the city that became his home.
He said: “I said to my wife ‘it is time to return what the city of Wakefield and the people of Wakefield have given us during our trials – during our worst moments’.
“We lost everything and we started life again from scratch.
“Since January we have done every possible thing we can do to bring my wife’s vision to life.”
City Tastes & Tipples: TeT’s tastes turn diners into regulars
Abyssinian food is eaten with pancakes made from a grain called teff. It is sugar free, gluten free, and has low carbohydrate content.
Of the 40 dishes that will be served at Corarima, just four will be meat dishes, with pulses and vegetables at the heart of most dishes.
Asamnew said: “The most successful long distance runners are from East Africa – it is because of this diet. We wanted to introduce those health benefits to this culture. We see on TV and news that one of the main problems here is obesity.
City Tastes & Tipples: Banh Mi 8
“We wanted to introduce food that could help with this problem.”
Corarima takes its name from the main spice of Abyssinia, which is used to increase the flavour of other ingredients.
Share: Abyssinian food is usually served on a teff pancake and shared, with parts of bread the torn off from the edges. Asamnew said: “Traditionally as a family we sit down and we eat from one big plate. We will encourage people to do the same. ”It creates a bond in the family and a bond in friendships.”
Corarima, on Cross Street, will open September 14.