By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud / Translated by Jhesley Ramirez
Since he was young, Juan Pablo Gonzalez used to cook as an entertainment and because it was a tradition that men in the family were in charge of the lunches every Sunday.
Once he got into the university, what started as a hobby became a source of income for a while. The caraqueño said “I used to sell sushi by requested orders. I cooked it myself and earned enough to live of”. Right away, his partner and couple named Alexandra Peña, certifies: “He cooks the best sushi”.
In 2008 he moved to Canada. He studied Fine Arts mention in Sculpture where the idea of cook Arepas showed up. For one of his projects, Juan Pablo attended to a performance where he cooked and offered Venezuelan food to all attendees. He said, “I used the context of art gallery to open a discussion not only about the Venezuelan political reality, but also about the reality in the region at that time”. Reinas Pepiadas and shredded meat Arepas were the way to open the discussion.
That opportunity was his inspiration. As he and his couple were loyal attendees to art and music festivals, they decided to carry Arepas to those events. They registered his brand as ‘Arepa Twist’ and started their craft cooking with rented equipment in the Market Collective in Alberta. The best one ever was arepas with shredded organic pork.
However, something was missing and definitely was the warm and nice weather that has Vancouver. So they decided to move to the west in 2015. After they moved, the company name and philosophy changed at all. Now they are named ‘El Coroto Venezuelan Kitchen’ and they not only awaken living feelings and hunger to their compatriots, but also the entrepreneurs want to captivate the people in YVR through an innovative repertoire.
“We are coming with a 100% vegan menu. We left behind traditional meals like pork, chicken, and cheese according to the tastes of citizens. The idea is that everything was sustainable, as local as possible, even though avocados, coriander and bananas cannot be both very locales and organics to be more attuned to the planet”, John Paul referred.
Now with their own food truck, El Coroto Venezuelan Kitchen will offer special meals. For example, ‘Pabellon Veggie’ with black beans, plantain slices, vegan cheese and avocado. ‘Reina Pepiada Veggie’ with strips of zucchini, avocado, organic tofu; flavored with lemon sauce and others local ingredients. ‘Arepa sifrina’ the mass (corn bread) with flax and hemp seed filled with cabbage and carrots salad, avocado sauce “guasacaca”, and bean sprouts; flavored with lemon and tahini.
They said the flavours are similar to the originals. “It’s a healthy, organic and tasty cuisine”.
Their debut is at the Carnaval del Sol, on July 9 and 10, 2016 at Concord Pacific Place. From there, they will go to the Vancouver Folk Festival, from July 15 to 17 in Jericho Beach, then on July 30 at the Afro-Brazilian carnival. Their idea is to join all the festivals and some of the farmers markets in the city.
And their goal is very clear. “We want to show that Venezuela is nice and tasty, beyond the problems,” said Juan Pablo.