Saba Tewolde

An Ethiopian refugee and culinary mastermind, Saba Tewolde has an inspiring story. After surviving the 1983 Ethiopian famine, she came to America with a vision to share her culture (and food) with the rest of the world. And through her nonprofit organization, Taste of Hope, she helps the orphaned, widowed, and poor in Ethiopia.

“I lost 2 million people in my town; it’s hard to erase that memory,” said Tewolde. “It’s like a tattoo. There was no food in Ethiopia. When I came to America, I knew I had to give back.”

At Sunday’s fundraiser, guests will enjoy the beauty and flavor of Ethiopian culture while raising money to aid the nearly 4.5 million starving people currently in Ethiopia. Along with traditional music and dance, the event will feature Tewolde’s savory creations, including homemade injera (traditional Ethiopian bread), alicha (sautéed mixed vegetables in turmeric sauce), doro wat (spicy chicken stew), misir alicha (spicy lentil stew), stuffed dates, and a special Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

“When I cook food, when I smell the food, I feel like I’m back in Ethiopia,” said Tewolde. “It helps me not miss it so much; food is both physically and emotionally healing for me.”


Ethiopian Nights will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 4, at the Chase Palm Park Center (236 E. Cabrillo Blvd.). $75. Visit


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