West Indian, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, Trinidadian, East Indian, Chinese, Bajan, Portuguese. These are just a few of the flavors that make up the Osorio heritage. Now that’s soulful and I’m pretty proud of that.
Throughout my career whether working in hotels, fine dining, or any other foodservice establishment, the kitchens were always diverse and full of talent. The restaurant might be French or Italian, but the staff was anything but. One restaurant I worked at had Ingrid the pastry chef from Syria whose staff was from Germany and the Ivory Coast. Saleem and Kenny were the Sous Chefs from Bangladesh and Egypt. Jon, Hector, and Sue our Garde Manager team, were from Sydney, Mexico City and Thailand. That’s pretty amazing.
I had the great fortune of working with these fine individuals 60-80 hours a week for close to 5 years. We were a family and staff meal was always a treat. Everyone took a turn preparing the great feast for 30 or so staff members before service. It had to be good or you were in trouble! (I’m serious 😊)
I didn’t realize it then but I gained so much from those meals. I took away a deeper understanding about ethnic food and its origins, including the people, culture, and region from which it comes. I was naturally curious and wanted to learn more and that sparked my creativity. Being around these individuals helped shape the way I think about food and the importance of respecting ingredients.
These days people want to eat food that has a story behind it, especially when there are some health benefits. As a result, there is an increased interest in ethnic food. Ethnic food is a trend that truly will never die. We have a real opportunity to achieve better understanding of cultural differences, history, and food, and ultimately each other.
It doesn’t have to be hard—look through your back-of-house staple ingredients, like dough, and give it a global flair. I’m helping you get started—take a look at some of these flavorful international zone coaster ideas and let your taste bud shine. Until next time!