Ralph said when travel opened up between the U.S. and Cuba for people-to-people educational visits, Chef Douglas Rodriguez saw an opportunity to bring his company, Culinary Adventures, to the country in hopes of introducing renowned U.S. chefs to a new culture and cuisine.
“Part of my role as International Sales Manager of Server Products is to constantly look for new opportunities to expand our brand in the world market,” Ralph said.
He said he’s had his sights set on Cuba in recent years, and the trip was truly fascinating.
“To see Cuba in its natural, pure state is a privilege afforded to only a few, and as Server’s International Sales Manager, I am proud to be one of the firsts to visit from the food service equipment industry.”
He said Cuba’s culture is very similar to that of his native country, Puerto Rico. A typical dinner involves families engrossed in long conversations, gathered around a table piled with green bananas, fresh onions and tomatoes, fried rice, yucca, a freshly roasted pig, or fish – a feast, really. And they supply everything they need for themselves rather than have it imported.
“While organic and farm fresh foods have become somewhat of a trend in the United States over the recent years, Cuba truly provides an authentic farm-to-table experience,” Ralph said.
Cuban farmers traditionally prefer food that is organic and fresh – they don’t spray pesticides on gardens or feed steroids to livestock. People who live within the city buy much of their meat and produce from supermarkets and farmers markets. Outside the city limits, the majority of the island is farmland. Since farmers don’t have tractors, they use strong animals like oxen to get the job done.
Ralph said as travel restrictions ease, he hopes U.S. restaurants will be able to embrace the new Cuban market.
“My trip to Cuba has provided Server Products with the unique ability to begin building relationships and networking with people so that when that time comes, we will be prepared to serve Cuba and meet its needs with our innovative products.”