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Brooklyn, New York
Hawa Hassan personally embodies the cultural diaspora of her hot sauces. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, she was fortunate to escape the civil war tearing the nation apart by going with her mother and four siblings to a U.N. refugee camp in Kenya. After a year in the camp, her mother was eventually able to get an apartment and launch a small business. When Hawa turned 7, her mother seized an opportunity to send her to Seattle, Washington, to live with a family friend. It would be 15 years before they saw each other again. In Seattle, Hawa was discovered by a modeling scout and over time built an unlikely career in fashion. Her mother, meanwhile, personifies strength of the human spirit: From Kenya she was able to migrate to Norway, where she opened a furniture outlet and a Somali goods store. When they eventually reunited, the two rediscovered their shared love of cooking.
Basbaas reflects Hawa’s personal passion for her culture and an entrepreneurial streak. And of course, it’s an homage to her mother.