Diasporian News of 2014-02-08

Kumasi’s Master Chef Ama Nima Passes on

Emma Bentum, popularly known Ama Nima, by all her loyal customers has passed away in New Jersey. She was visiting her children from Ghana. She was 62. She leaves behind five children and three grandchildren and two sisters and a brother. Her mother auntie Araba, the original restaurateur preceded her in death.

Ama Nimah was one of those rear gems in the emerging cuisine trends in the garden city from the mid-1970s through the end of the 1990s. She took over the very local Auntie Araba Emoo (rice) restaurant at Kumasi-Asafo, near the Ahmadiyya Primary School in the early 1970s when her mother retired.

Within a couple of years of being in charge Ama Nimah had catapulted this local business into a city wide business. By the mid 1970s people from all over the city trekked to Asafo for a taste of the Ama Nima Emoo. She was very outgoing but a firm business owner. Her restaurant of course competed head on for the most popular restaurant moniker in the city with the other monoline restaurant “Atwemurum”, the fufu place. She was a symbol of Asafo’s ever dominance of Kumasi. It is now easy to reminisce about the winding queues and the eclectic group of: business people, professionals on lunch break, young men who were new to the dating game and were eager to impress their dates with a taste of Ama Nimah Emoo, who thronged the restaurant. How one wishes Ghana had bitten the capitalist bug in those days for some financial guru to have turned her recipe into what Wall Street did for other monoline restaurants in the US such as McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken from their humbling beginnings as one-room restaurants to international companies. Hopefully, she wrote down her recipe somewhere so when the Ghanaian financial acumen line up right someone can parlay it into the what it should have been earlier on.

Ama, rest in perfect peace. We will never forget you and the enhancements you gave to our taste buds with the juicy oxtails and crisp rice.

The one-week celebration is at Kumasi-Asafo near the 91 Richmond Street, Brooklyn, NY on Saturday February 8, 2014. Final funeral arrangements will follow after the one-week observance.

“Da yie Obaa pa. Damirifa due. Wo Kumase fuo da wo ase.”

Source: F. Yaw Berkoh nketia
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