The journey of most people who immigrate to the United States follows the same basic path. Their destination typically is one where they have friends or family already living. This way they can have the best chance at success in finding a job and a place to live. Inevitably, they tend to get hired on where their friends and family members are working. In many of the larger cities, one of the most common jobs is in the restaurant business. Many people are content to spend their lives working in whatever style of restaurant they find themselves in, but some harbor a dream of being their own chef and running their own kitchen. These are the people who are mostly responsible for the growth of Latin fusion cooking.
Latin fusion cooking allows these creative chefs to combine the traditional flavors and styles of cooking they grew up with the new ingredients that are more prevalent here in this country. By embracing this new style of cooking - and finding ways to put their own stamp on it - these chefs and restaurant owners get to work with the flavors that they like, creating dishes similar to the ones they grew up enjoying while also employing a business model that gives them the best chance at obtaining and maintaining financial success.
The truth is the restaurant industry is one of the toughest to be successful in, with a failure rate close to 90 percent. Many of these chefs probably wish they could open a casual fine dining restaurant that focused solely on dishes exactly how they were made back home, but unless they are located in a particularly large city with an adventurous restaurant clientele or are situated in an neighborhood populated with enough people who share their heritage, making this type of restaurant successful can be a challenge.
What helps to make Latin fusion cooking a smart decision is the fact that many people across the country are familiar with some of the basic flavors. Even if they have never traveled south of the border, most people are familiar with many of the staples of Latin American cooking. A quick look at the menu of most national chain restaurants will show tacos, quesadillas and fajitas. Because this knowledge is already there, half the work is done.
People are more willing to try food they already have some understanding of, so they know that when they go to a Latin fusion restaurant, they may be introduced to certain sauces, ingredients and dishes they have never heard of, but they also know that these dishes are only a small step away from what they are familiar with. This comfortable expansion of their dining palates is what is helping to drive Latin fusion dining as one of the fastest growing segments in the casual fine dining side of the restaurant industry.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who also works fulltime as a bartender in New York City. http://www.osorioslatinfusion.com