Meet The Chefs
Mwana Moyo, originally from Tanzania, offers a unique combination of authentic East African food at Moyo Kitchen.
Dedicated to her craft of cooking and to her community, Mwana also works as a caregiver and a social services case manager. Although Mwana has previously provided small-scale catering, FIN’s Food Business Incubator is helping to scale Moyo Kitchen, which will continue to offer catering while finding a new home at Spice Bridge.
In addition to being Mwana’s last name, Moyo is also Swahili for “heart,” which you can feel in the kitchen. Mwana’s hope for Moyo Kitchen is to continue growing, sharing love and culture with people through good food!
We spoke with Mwana about how she learned to cook, the Zanzibari spices she uses, and what it’s like to start a food business.
Q&A with the Chef
What type of cuisine do you offer?
Mwana: We offer catering and will also have a kiosk at Spice Bridge. Through catering we’ll be able to offer more options, depending on what customers want. Everything will be halal. We’ll have a lot of options for everyone! I know for sure people who try it will want to come again.
What makes Moyo Kitchen’s food special?
Mwana: The spices are from my country, Zanzibar, which we import: cumin, cloves, black pepper, garam masala, tamarind masala. All of those spices we are going to use at the kiosk. The way I cook, the way I mix together the food, it’s the way I learned to cook from my grandma.
Can you talk about your personal story?
Mwana: I’m from Zanzibar, Tanzania. I came to America in 1998 with my two children. I have lived in Washington since then, never moved. When I came here my goal was to open my own restaurant, but it was hard. At that time I didn’t have anything. I went to school and asked people how to do this. In 2019, my auntie introduced me to Njambi [Food Innovation Network’s Cultural Outreach Specialist]. She told her, “She knows how to cook, maybe we can put her in our program.” This year I made it into the program and started.