How Otter’s Global Partners share culture through food
July 22, 2021
How Otter’s Global Partners share culture through food
No matter how the restaurant industry evolves over time, one thing is eternal. Food connects us all. Working with a diverse roster of restaurant owners has shown us how food can be a catalyst for expressing and sharing different cultures with the world. Watching others experience new flavors and presentations has been a life-long occupation for these culinary explorers. Keep reading to learn more about the ways Otter partners use food as a tool to expand people’s palettes, bring joy, and build community.
When restaurants become a cultural meeting place through cuisine
If you are searching for signs of globalization, you only need to look at our tables. Over the years, local cuisines have spread around the world and are now served globally. It's not hard to imagine someone having crepes for breakfast, sushi for lunch, and dining in an Italian trattoria.
Sharing food has brought people together since the beginning of time. As global citizens, we are always seeking to experience the best cuisines from around the world, but we want authentic food prepared by the people that know it best.
At Otter, we’re constantly encouraged by our restaurant partners’ creativity, resilience and drive. From a Nikkei cuisine lover in Madrid to a pair of siblings inspired by their grandmother’s Indian dishes, learn how Otter partners give us a deeper insight into their cultures through their restaurants.
Brazilian Bowl - Brazilian Cuisine in Chicago
“Americans were missing out on homemade, casual Brazilian food. I liked the concept of Chipotle, made Brazilian. So I moved to Chicago and created it.”
Tony Ferreira, owner of Brazilian Bowl, was always into food. “Food is in my blood. Growing up in Sao Paulo, my mom used to cook for families in their homes – everything I know about food I learned from my mother and my grandmother.” After opening a food kiosk and a brick & mortar location in Sao Paulo, Tony decided to make his dream of opening a casual Brazilian restaurant in the US a reality. “Americans were missing out on homemade, casual Brazilian food”, he explains, “so I moved to Chicago and created it”. If you’re in the mood for fast-casual bowls and Brazilian national dishes, make sure to visit Tony in the heart of Chicago.
Argo Greek Cuisine - Greek Cuisine in Vancouver
Argo Greek Cuisine’s founder Chrisy Arrnaki is a dog trainer- turned-lawyer- turned aesthetician who is now a successful restaurant owner. Born and raised in Greece, Arknai inherited a deep reverence for food from her upbringing. Her mother was “the best cook she’s ever known. Better than the professionals” and Arnaki has been a foodie ever since. After traveling the world, Arnaki moved to Canada with her husband with a mission to bring Greek cuisine to Canada. If you’ve ever in Vancouver and want to experience authentic Greek food, pizza or fresh pasta checkout Argo Greek Cuisine. Trust us.
Ikiru by FOODIOOM - Japanese-Peruvian Cuisine in Madrid
When Ernesto Barrón left Peru to pursue an MBA in Madrid, Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine was already a big hit in his country. "Aside from being my favorite food, we’ve had a very interesting Nikkei culinary boom in Lima for some years now”. An entrepreneur at heart, Ernesto partnered with chef Javier Muñoz to create FOODIOOM: a ghost kitchen specialized in haute cuisine. With 5 different restaurants under the same roof, Ernesto made sure to include his favorite dishes. "When I arrived in Madrid I couldn't find anything similar to our Nikkei cuisine. There were interesting ideas, but nothing that resembled it”. That was until he met Luis Arévalo, Sushi and Nikkei chef that’s now behind Ikiru, one of the top restaurants under the FOODIOOM roof. If you find yourself in Madrid, make sure to try their maki chifero and maki nikkei to experience this true Japanese-Peruvian fusion.
Yemen Cafe - Yemeni Cuisine in NYC
“Middle Easterners needed a place to connect with their community, and Yemen Café became their first stop.”
Brooklyn’s Yemen Cafe isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a safe haven. Ali Alsubai, co-owner and manager, explains how his father and uncle opened the restaurant back in 1986. “They realized that for first-timers coming to the US from the Middle East, navigating an entirely new culture and environment can be hard. They knew that Middle Easterners needed a place to connect with their community, and Yemen Café became their first stop.” Located along the iconic Atlantic Avenue, Yemen Cafe is world famous for its Haneeth - slow-roasted lamb that melts in your mouth served with rice and potatoes.
Spice Club Indian Cuisine - Indian Cuisine in Toronto
Spice Club’s founder Parash has always loved food, and was inspired to begin cooking after spending his childhood in the kitchen with his late grandmother. “My grandmother was always cooking the most delicious food when I was a kid, and I was always looking for ways to be of assistance to her in the kitchen. When she passed away, I finished college and went back to India to learn how to cook authentic Indian cuisine in Mumbai.” “He was always an amazing cook,” adds sister Bishnu, “especially after he finished studying Indian cuisine in Mumbai.” After working in various restaurants Parash decided to bite the bullet and launched Spice Club in 2019 with help from his sister. And the people of Toronto are very thankful they did! If you’re ever in the area make sure to check out the restaurant’s Nepalese momos – small dumplings filled with ground chicken or vegetables — as well as their Tikka Masala made in a tandoor oven.
Are you a global hero ready to grow your restaurant with Otter?
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