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Chef Battle: Zenash Beyene

When chef Zenash Beyene immigrated to the U.S. in 1981, she said she “came without a penny but ... with a dream.”

Beyene said she immediately began searching for the ingredients she needed to start cooking dishes from her home country of Ethiopia because she “can't live without it.” It took about three weeks.

Less than 20 years later, she opened Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant, where she serves the food her family taught her to cook — shiro (chickpeas), asa wat (fish), and injera (bread).

For Beyene, clean, fresh ingredients are paramount, and feeding people is a responsibility to be taken seriously because “everybody’s life is in your hand.”

“My skill is food,” she said. “It’s my gift.”

Chef Zenash Beyene will be competing in WBEZ's 10th Annual Chicago Chef Battle.

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