Dupe Bello talked about going into the food business for a long time. She loves to cook and entertain but thinks that maybe it was fear of the unknown that held her back.
Ultimately it was her friends and family that provided the encouragement to open her own business and farmer's market stand. Her specialty is traditional Nigerian food, the food she grew up on and the food her mother, a restaurant owner back in Nigeria, cooked: red sauce, black eyed peas, rice and plantains.
Bello got the ball rolling in 2010 when she invited friends over for dinner. "They were talking about it for two or three weeks later," says Bello, seemingly still in disbelief. "'You should be in the food business' they told me."
She did a few food events in San Francisco and Sausalito like Home Grown Marin. "It was very successful, the response was so overwhelming," says Bello, who lives in Novato with her family including three kids 19, 16 and 13.
And that's how Mama's African Kitchen came to be. She uses her mother's recipe for red sauce, which she says can be used with virtually anything from chicken or eggs to pizza sauce. It's her mama's recipe, hence the nomiker Mama's. And Mama, Marian Fashogboa, is right by her side at every farmers market, singing out to passersby. "Red sauce!" "Try our sauce."
The sauce comes in mild, medium and hot and as Mama says, use it on anything. On pasta, with beans and chicken, or mix greek yogurt into and use it as a dip. Mama's also offers complete African meals to go, a vegan-vegetarian option with red sauce, beans plantains and brown rice, or the same with chicken or lamb.
"I miss Nigeria of course," says Bello. "But this is home, where my kids are born." She looks perfectly at home behind her stand.
Spicy Veggie Dip with Mama's Red Sauce
- One container Mama's Spicy Red Sauce
- One cup Greek yogurt - full fat.
- Variety of chopped veggies: carrots, celery, radish
Mix red sauce and greek yogurt, serve with a platter full of veggies.