Portrait of Hawa Hassan

Hawa Hassan

Hawa Hassan was born in a time of war in Somalia and at the age of four moved with her family to a U.N. refugee camp. In that difficult environment, her mother worked miracles to keep her five children safe, fed and educated. Eventually Hawa's mother was able to make her way to an apartment in Nairobi, Kenya, and three years  after that,  she  made  the  painful  decision to send  Hawa to  Seattle to live with a family friend. It would be 15 years before Hawa saw her family again.

Hawa is the founder and CEO of Basbaas Sauce, a line of condiments  inspired by her country of origin, Somalia. Hawa and her brand have been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, the Observer, Grub Street, Vogue, The Cut, Eater, and more. 

Hawa’s first book is In Bibi’s Kitchen:The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean, written with Julia Turshen.

Photo: Khadija M. Farah