HARTFORD, Conn. — Both come from Puerto Rico to the Nutmeg state and proudly display their culture and heritage through their stories and food, creating flair and flavor from "The Island of Enchantment" to Connecticut.
Brenda Torres is the chef and restaurant owner of Criollismo Restaurant in New Britain, and, Xavier Santiago is the Culinary Director of The Place 2 Be.
Both chefs proudly display their culture and heritage through their stories and food, creating flair and flavor from "The Island of Enchantment" to Connecticut.
"We are on the forefront of a lot," explained Santiago. "And the movement of not only the cuisine but the culture and everything else is like very strong."
Both explained to FOX61 that their passion for cuisine started when they were children in Puerto Rico.
For Torres, she said it was destiny. "I grew up in Puerto Rico, I grew up in business," she said. "My mom and father owned restaurants in Puerto Rico for twenty years."
Santiago said it was a dream come true, as he learned to cook from his grandmother. He said she taught him everything, and now it's his fuel to keep going to make an impact.
"For me, I take it very personally because I feel like I have a lot on my shoulders to display and talk about the food and history and what it stands for," said Santiago.
Torres agreed and said that as a restaurant owner, she hopes people can see her love for cooking and her Hispanic roots.
"And that's what I like about the Latin culture here," proclaimed Santiago. "Everybody cooks from the heart, and they love what they do."
Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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