FAMILY OWNED, FAMILY INSPIRED.

The Hamsa Brand came to life by sheer fate. In 2012, our culinary co-founder Michael was on a work trip to NYC from Las Vegas and hailed a cab that would forever change his life. On his ride to John F. Kennedy airport, he got to talking with the driver who insisted on introducing him to his “perfect match.” Three weeks later, Michael returned to NYC to meet Joanna (co-founder and the girl with the squeezable harissa sauce idea). Upon their first embrace, they knew that they would be in each other’s lives forever. Everything was maktub — as it’s said — written for them. The alchemy of their fateful connection — decades of ancestral history pulverized with a modern love story — is now being shared with the world with the explosive revival of their favorite childhood North African sauces and spice blends.

Note from the Founders:

Growing up, our homes were filled with vibrant and flavorful meals — always the highlight of our upbringing. Our rich heritage is deeply ingrained in everything we do. It informs our creative approach to everything from developing recipes and cooking techniques, down to the look and feel of our products. A husband and wife duo, our mission is to create an exotic pantry embodying 500 years of culture sweeping across North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean regions.

Watch our love story come to life here.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

Paulo Coelho

Michael Vakneen – Co-founder | Head of Sales and Operations

The art of cooking and eating allows for all five senses to be stimulated and should not be defined by boldness but more so by empowering simplicity and subtlety. As a chef, it’s important to me that I represent my Middle Eastern heritage using a holistic approach in my cooking – combining elements of food science, art, tradition, colors, and textures. Every component is fundamental to the process of creation and each holds equal value whether tangible or not. In 2011, I left a career in Commercial Real Estate to pursue a long-time passion for bread baking. I opened Pop Up Pizza in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas which was voted best pizzeria in the city two consecutive years in a row (2018 and 2019). I immerse myself in the industry by participating in local culinary events and by competing in national competitions such as the Caputo Cup Championship (placed fifth in the US for best pizza maker award).

Michael Vakneen – Co-founder | Head of Sales and Operations

The art of cooking and eating allows for all five senses to be stimulated and should not be defined by boldness but more so by empowering simplicity and subtlety. As a chef, it’s important to me that I represent my Middle Eastern heritage using a holistic approach in my cooking – combining elements of food science, art, tradition, colors, and textures. Every component is fundamental to the process of creation and each holds equal value whether tangible or not. In 2011, I left a career in Commercial Real Estate to pursue a long-time passion for bread baking. I opened Pop Up Pizza in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas which was voted best pizzeria in the city two consecutive years in a row (2018 and 2019). I immerse myself in the industry by participating in local culinary events and by competing in national competitions such as the Caputo Cup Championship (placed fifth in the US for best pizza maker award).

Joanna Bensimon – Co-founder | Head of Marketing and Branding

I was raised to share and receive love through the art of hospitality – the bedrock of my Moroccan culture. As a child, I was influenced by a passionate single mother who worked very hard long hours as a private chef and caterer. While watching my Saturday morning cartoons, I was given the tasks of rolling hundreds of delicate Moroccan cigars and cranking dried chilies through a meat grinder for her (badass) homemade Harissa paste. Fast forward a couple of decades, The Hamsa Brand comes to life with my husband – our traditions reinvented. I am certain that everything about our lives has been the work of destiny – from the way we met, to us finding out that we share similar ethnic backgrounds which meant that food was the epicenter of our childhoods. Together, we are excited to create versatile kitchen staples that will enrich any cuisine and that most importantly will allow others to make their own culinary memories.

Joanna Bensimon – Co-founder | Head of Marketing and Branding

I was raised to share and receive love through the art of hospitality – the bedrock of my Moroccan culture. As a child, I was influenced by a passionate single mother who worked very hard long hours as a private chef and caterer. While watching my Saturday morning cartoons, I was given the tasks of rolling hundreds of delicate Moroccan cigars and cranking dried chilies through a meat grinder for her (badass) homemade Harissa paste. Fast forward a couple of decades, The Hamsa Brand comes to life with my husband – our traditions reinvented. I am certain that everything about our lives has been the work of destiny – from the way we met, to us finding out that we share similar ethnic backgrounds which meant that food was the epicenter of our childhoods. Together, we are excited to create versatile kitchen staples that will enrich any cuisine and that most importantly will allow others to make their own culinary memories.