Meet Hassan Ziadi
Owner, Moroccan Flavors
Morocco has been shrouded in mystique since Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman hit the silver screen in the 1942 film Casablanca. In Minnesota, where most people have only experienced Hollywood’s studio representation of the country, one man has made it his mission to bring the flavors of Morocco mainstream.
Hassan Ziadi, owner of Moroccan Flavors is known for his culinary creations and caring smile. Most people do not know he’s a world-class chef who has been honored with prestigious culinary awards. His humility and kindness shines through in his incredible customer service, which includes making sure customers find the items that suit their taste. He enjoys interacting with people who discover the restaurant during their visits to the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.
“When I was a lad, I wasn’t doing very well in school. My dad said, ‘Hassan, if you’re not doing well you need to find a profession.’”
HASSAN ZIADI, MOROCCAN FLAVORS
As a young kid in Morocco, Hassan Ziadi craved adventure. With the encouragement of his father, he chose to forego sitting in a classroom to explore the world through food. Hassan remembers vacationing as a young child, observing the exemplary service patrons received, and aspired to one day help create the smiles he saw on people’s faces. At the age of seventeen, he left home for culinary school and embarked on a career that brought him around the world. He has lived and worked as a chef in Morocco, Washington DC, France, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and eventually Minneapolis. Hassan’s passion for cooking is responsible for more than just professional success, for it was in a restaurant kitchen that Hassan met his wife.
“We met in a kitchen,” Hassan says admiringly, referring to his wife. “I told her, ‘One day we will open a restaurant and work together, side-by-side.’”
In 2013, Hassan left Qatar to build a life for his family in Minneapolis. “I told my wife, the best place for us to raise a family is Minneapolis.” Like most immigrants to the US, he realized there would be tremendous obstacles to overcome. “I was new to this country, I had nothing. No one will give me a loan.” Through a friend, Hassan learned about NDC and all it could oer to aspiring businesses.
With one of the coveted spots in the Midtown Global Market up for grabs after the departure of Sonora Grill, Hassan sprang into action. Working with NDC, Hassan has received comprehensive business support, including training, financing, interior design, web design, and restaurant management support.
“I told Kris (NDC Client Manager & Business Advisor), ‘I like the color blue.’ She took care of the rest.” –Hassan
She took those words and created a Moroccan oasis that includes crafted silver lamps, wooden tables and authentic ornaments. The interior design is based o of variations of a serene shade of blue, very dierent from the red and orange color palettes typically seen in Moroccan design. “I always tell my friends what I miss most about Morocco is the cuisine.”
After securing a loan with NDC, Hassan focused on creating a restaurant that honored his heritage. His mediterranean style dishes are unlike anything the twin cities have ever seen, creating the first traditional Moroccan restaurant in town.