Hanna, Raska's Founder and Chef, is a food enthusiast who believes that food is our medicine. She is passionate about seeking out the ancient healing properties and aromas of spices and herbs. She believes that every being deserves to be happy, and thus her motto is, "Health is Happiness, and Food is an important way to obtain that happiness." Therefore, she always seeks out the yummiest ways to cook with the most healing herbs. She is known for deeply caring about others- the community, the water, the food, the animals, the plants, and spiritual growth. This compassion transfers into how openly she shares her wisdom and knowledge of these passions, including the healing properties of ethnic food.
She came to realize just how complicated it can be to share how to prepare ethnic food with others, as it is very time consuming and detail oriented to make from scratch. This became apparent to her when she was raising two children as a single mother while attending Colorado State University full time in addition to working full time. In attempt to provide her children with a healthy lifestyle, she came up with 7 various sauces that were inspired by her Ethiopian background, as well as her experiences with other related cultures. Like an alchemist, she would spend hours blending, cooking, and jarring the sauces on the weekend in order to have them prepared to use throughout the month. Due to this technique, cooking healthy dishes for her family became efficient and easy- only half an hour for a gourmet feast. Before she knew it, she was offering the sauce to her friends and then holding cooking classes in the CSU student housing complex. The seed was planted, and Raska Sauce was officially born in 2003- first for friends and family, and then farmers markets, and now in stores.
Every plate achieves that elusive, cuisine-defining balance of sweet, salty, and sour — even dessert.
Since Hanna was continuously holding cooking demos, she eventually opened up her restaurant, Raska Ethnic Cuisine, to showcase all her recipes. The restaurant was supposed to be a temporary venture in order to support the advertisement of the sauce; however, due to the popularity and community hub that was created around the restaurant, it is still open and thriving!
At the end of 2016, Raska closed the previous restaurant location after about a decade of business, to merge with the sauce production facility just a few doors down. After one gap year, it is now re-opened with minor changes in the recipes, including being primarily vegan and vegetarian.
Everyone is welcome to try Raska food made with Raska Sauce anytime between Wednesday-Saturday, 11-8:30pm.
Thank You and Extended Gratitude
Thank you to the community for the endless support and love.
Thank you to Liz Ross for the countless hours of work you put in with the stunning tile work and painting. You are truly talented and self-less.
Fauzi for the help with fixing, organizing and menu planning
Trish Babbitt with recipes and curtains
Tyler for carpentry
Renee for graphic design, logo and labels
Sophia for paintings & social media marketing
Jamal for encouragement and endless support
Stephan for helping move furniture and brainstorming
Pheobe and Zander for helping with fundraising and painting
Dave for creating the bar and using your own time for handyman work
Brett and Mykel for the enthusiasm and help on the bathroom & steps
Ahova and Adi for helping cleanup and organizing
Josh and Leah for the bathroom art
Tedla for the inspiration for Tedla's delight
Erika Murphy for creating SoHam Kombucha
Jamie for bringing smiles, painting & rolling up sleeves to help
Kyle, Griffin and George for helping whenever needed
David Bartecchi for being there when we need you
Rebecca Foos for organization and management help
Steve for your encouragement
Thank you for everyone who showed up to the fundraisers, even if we don't know you by name.
Thank you to all the volunteers, friends, and customers who have voyaged with us from the last Raska.
And Thank You to the many more that have put so much energy in and volunteered their time and effort to make Raska happen.
None of this could have manifested without your help. <3
"Universal nomad" is how Hanna describes herself. She was born in Ethiopia yet came to Colorado as a teen, also spending time living in other countries such as Kenya and Sudan. Through her learned global understanding and awareness, Hanna believes that "world peace can be achieved through food healing," since "interconnectivity and community happens through food." She is always proud to bring her global differences and experiences to the table. "Raska will always be set to feel like you are walking into someone's home kitchen, and also traveling to a different country at the same time." Her main objective is to spread love and light to the world. She does what she likes with respects to how it will positively impact the community.
Sophia, Hanna's daughter, is a CSU graduate in Digital Communication and Sociology. She shares her mom's love of cooking, community and creativity. Before entering the restaurant industry, she spent time modeling in NYC and singing in local jazz bands. When she is not working for Raska, she also teaches dance, yoga and martial arts classes. She believes that "Communication creates community and generates understanding, which is the seed of intimacy and mutual valuing. Communication- whether Public Relations, Marketing, Dance or Music, is all about receiving and relaying messages that, with pure intent, build human connection. I thrive on empowering others to achieve their positive, underlying purposes by utilizing various platforms of communication."