July 22nd, 2013
09:30 AM ET
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When Ahmed Jama decided to leave behind the successful restaurant he'd started in London to open a new one in one of the world's most dangerous cities, his hometown of Mogadishu, reactions ranged from surprise to scorn to straightforward questioning of his sanity.

"A lot of people think that I am a crazy guy," says the Somali chef, his wiry figure looming over roasting pans full of vegetables and meat inside his downtown Mogadishu eatery.

"When I opened this restaurant they could not believe it," he remembers. "When I came here and bought the land some people told me, 'you are not coming back, come back when you're ready' - I said, 'I am going to build it soon.'"

And he did. A risk taker, in 2008 Jama chose to open his first Somalia-based restaurant in Kilometer Four, a dangerous area in Mogadishu where battles would often rage between various factions fighting for control of the city.

"That is the only reason I opened it," says Jama, who grew up in Mogadishu before heading to the UK to study culinary arts. "If I do, people are going to see; they are going to say, 'he has done it, why are we not doing it?'"

Read - Chef braves suicide bombs to give Mogadishu a taste of peace



soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. NYC Fitness Events

    "A lot of people think that I am a crazy guy," Successful people are!

    January 31, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Reply
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    July 26, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  3. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Anytime I hear the name Mogadishu I think of the slaughter of American troops in the early 90's

    July 22, 2013 at 11:19 am | Reply

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