The annual Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo took place this year with innovation, creative ideas and delicious food. Along with the Sabor Latino Pavilion, the Expo highlighted the power of Latinos in the U.S. with the 4th Latin Food Symposium.
The symposium took place August 28, 2017 in the Los Angeles Convention Center, consisting of the panelist speakers Edward Medina, CEO of Ramona’s Foods, Alex Lopez, Co-founder of Mi Cajita, Carlos Viramontes, LFIA member and owner of Viramontes Marketing, Chef Juan Sanjuan III, Chef at Gloria’s restaurant, Teresa Razo, Marketing Director at Villa Roma Restaurant and Chef Mario Medina, chef at the Maincourse Restaurant.
The Latin Food Symposium kicked off its start with Show Director Lilly Rocha and then MC Roberto Lemus introducing Dr. David Hayes. Dr. Hayes spoke about food facts and Latin demographics, discussing the statistics of education, upbringing and culture differences with Latinos and Anglos in the United States. He enforced the benefits, influence, positive work ethic and strength of Latinos.
After a Q&A with the audience, the panelists discussed “The State of Latin Food Cuisine.”
Panelists give tips at the Latin Food Symposium
Among some of the questions asked of the panelists were what major accomplishments and changes were seen in the Latin Food business in the last 20 years, what parts of the business were they most passionate about, what does the LFIA offer (Latin Food Industry Association) and what financial tips would they give to someone starting their own business.
“Be passionate. Love what you do, love the process, I know sometimes it gets hard. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to copy others, do what you do… Believe in yourself and most importantly, surround yourself with great people. We need help in here, this is not easy. The restaurant industry is no joke… this type of event brings so many people to the table that we should take advantage of,” said Chef Juan Sanjuan.
When it came to advice, Teresa Razo said, “Just go for it. There are things that won’t work the way you want them to, but it’s okay… Just don’t give up. If you try it, you’ll figure out either that way will work, or B will work or C will work… You will encounter some no’s or no you can’t do that. There’s two meanings to that. They will tell you no because they’re not ready to see you go that far. The other, if someone is saying no and being negative to you, I always walk away, but before you walk away, give them a chair. Give them a chair so they can sit and watch you.”