Baobab Fare Competes and Wins Food Network’s Chopped

Baobab Fare donates the winning funds to continue supporting Freedom House and Burundi Kids.

Hamissi Mamba of Baobab Fare competed on Food Network’s Chopped in January 2022. Viewers tuned in on February 28 to see Mamba compete against three other chefs — Chef Kevin Culinary, Chef Chantiel, and Chef Dan Kardos. The episode concluded with the announcement of Mamba’s win over the other three chefs and he took the proceeds of the $10,000 winning funds and split them between two organizations, Freedom House Detroit and Burundi Kids.

Baobab Fare is owned and operated by Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba, a wife and husband team that sought asylum in the United States. Nadia Nijimbere arrived in the U.S. in 2013, before Mamba. She lived in Detroit’s Freedom House, which supports asylum seekers in Michigan. There, she found she was pregnant with twins, and it wasn’t until two years later that Mamba was able to meet his daughters.

“This was not a choice for us to come to the United States,” Mamba says. “It was about survival. And after years of being here, of building a community space through Baobab Fare, Detroit Ni Nyumbani. That means and translates to Detroit Is Home, and it is so important to us
that we give back to the people, and the community that has given us so much love and support over the years.”

After the husband and wife duo immigrated to Detroit, they launched a series of pop-ups, serving dishes from Burundi and introducing East African culture and cuisine to Detroit. Their business quickly developed a strong local following, and in 2021 the couple opened their
brick-and-mortar in New Center. Since its inception, Baobab Fare has become a gathering place where all are welcomed and embraced, and is done so by bringing the community together through food.

Mamba and Nadia are dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support the work that Freedom House does. Freedom House’s kitchen that is in need of repair. It serves over 50 people daily and in order to continue doing so needs many renovations — including ventilation,
commercial-grade appliances, new flooring, cupboards, counters, sinks, and more.

“Mamba and Nadia have been active leaders in the same community that helped Nadia when she was a resident at Freedom House Detroit. It’s through that community that they found connections and resources to help them build one of the best restaurants in Detroit,” says Elizabeth Orozco-Vasquez the CEO of Freedom House. “They are always cooking up ways to support Freedom House. So, when Mamba said he wanted to use their local restaurant success and participation in Food Network’s Chopped to raise funds for our kitchen, we were humbled but not surprised. This is the kind of generosity that Mamba and Nadia share with everyone they encounter. Mamba and Nadia know that at the heart of any great operation is a well-nourished soul and that nourishment starts in the kitchen!”

To support the fundraising efforts of Baobab Fare and aid Freedom House in completing the required renovations, those interested can head to bit.ly/freedom-house-kitchen to learn more and donate.

Voted Best New Restaurant 2022, the East African restaurant, market, and street food pop-up brings a touch of African fare to
Detroit, because Detroit Ni Nyumbani – Detroit is Home.

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