In order for that lentil salad to be lively when the farmers market opens, Rosalie Essimi starts cooking the night before, and doesn’t leave the commercial kitchen space at Haymarket’s incubator Frontier Kitchen until 3 a.m. She sleeps for three hours before driving to set up her stand. This is after she puts in a full day as a teacher in Fairfax County.
Essimi started Boso Kitchen not just to show off her skills mixing turmeric and chili together for a savory-spicy blend on almonds and cashews, or layering flavors in her black-eyed pea and kale soup, but to give her money away. Growing up in Cameroon without access to books—“and I loved reading,” she says—she wants to make sure children everywhere can develop their own admiration of books.
While she’s still figuring out the charitable component, Essimi is working toward a second master’s, this one in library studies. “If I hadn’t had that dream of doing something, I would have never started a business,” says Esimi, who brings her wares to farmers markets in Burke, Merrifield and Falls Church. “That’s what motivates me to get to the kitchen and give up my sleep.”