On Park Avenue in Spanish Harlem, there’s a voodoo botanica and a towering housing project. Every 4 minutes, Metro-North roars past on an elevated track. Tucked under those tracks is Hot Bread Kitchen in the abandoned La Marqueta, a historic Hispanic marketplace. HBK, a food incubator, supports low-income immigrant bakers by providing them with kitchen facilities, mentorship, and a business network.
Yet Hiyaw Gebreyohannes, a recent HBK grad, is not your typical immigrant—nor your typical baker. Ethiopian by way of Canada and Michigan, he came to New York with an entrepreneurial vision and looks the part in his wry t-shirt and hipster sneakers. He does bake injera, a fermented flatbread staple of Ethiopia, but he’s also developed an entire line of prepared foods, Taste of Ethiopia, which has caught on in New York City and is poised to keep expanding. For all his ambition, Hiyaw prefers not to self-promote and gets self-deprecating when he does. A charismatic guy, he’s got a darling demeanor and a gigantic smile. Still, he gets nervous when you ask what the name Hiyaw means. Continue reading “Interviews for Introverts”