A symbiosis between two seemingly different culinary worlds does not necessarily mean that the cultural integrity on each of the sides is lost and that one’s traditional food is going to be dominant. While holding a strong traditional power, food is abstract since it relies on the experience factor that the individual perceives. Thus, an experience cannot be Scandinavian or Ethiopian, yet it can be positive or negative. In case it is positive, the person associates it with both cuisines and does not discriminate since the overall premise was a collaboration between the two traditions without elevating one above the other.
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On the other hand, one may make the argument that since both cultures are mentioned, a person may be impacted by the intrinsic bias. According to researchers, the theory of hegemony refers to power asymmetry (Ikenberry & Nexon, 2019). Thus, one may make an unconscious parallel between the food and the country which it represents based on intrinsic beliefs of which nation holds more power. In this case, the symbiosis between the two exists only on paper but not in the mind of those visiting the restaurant.
Combining Ethiopian and Scandinavian cuisine can be interpreted as a disregard of both cultures. Individuals who are Ethiopian and have consumed traditional food for their entire lives may deem the concept as unnecessarily ignorant, which may be the same for Scandinavians. This can be perceived as a westernization of a culinary tradition that is being exploited while losing its integrity and cultural value. Thus, the hegemony theory that refers to one entity’s power over the other one is illustrated through the minimization of the national tradition of Ethiopian food.
However, the initiative itself does not imply a depreciation of value. Instead, a restaurant with an Ethiopian chef who does not avoid mentioning Ethiopian food as half the inspiration for the dishes is a rather important promotion of the country and its culture. Not only that, but the idea promotes Ethiopian cuisine as flexible and resilient to being incorporated based on various interpretations. Needless to say, no suggestions refer to Scandinavian food being the primary inspiration, which is also the reference to the equality between the two cultures.
Ikenberry, G. J., & Nexon, D. H. (2019). Hegemony studies 3.0: The dynamics of hegemonic orders. Security Studies, 28(3), 395–421. Web.