“Music brings cultures and people together. Music is one language. So is food,” says Nazabal Amores. “I love my new home here in Canada, and through music and food, I’m bringing my culture, and my values with me.” His passion for his Cuban heritage and that love of his new home are the foundation for his new business, O' Cubano Cafe and Catering, a humble market stall serving up kick-ass authentic Cuban fare each weekend at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. He’s pretty new on the scene, but the reviews are good. One happy customer says it reminded her of when she lived and studied in Havana—a nice break from rice and beans. Nazabal Amores says the goal at O' Cubano is to bring fresh, delicious Cuban food to Halifax while supporting the local economy by using local supplies as much as he can.
“I’ve met with, in my opinion, the best farmers and bakers in Nova Scotia. I’m confident the meat, bread and veggies I’m using are being produced in the most sustainable and healthy way they can be,” he says. “In Cuba we have very little processed food—I love that. It’s all local, all fresh. That’s what I’m trying to do here.”
That includes vegetables from Noggin’s Corner, apple juice from Suprima Farms, steroid and antibiotic-free meat from Oulton’s Meats and bread from Boulangerie La Vendéenne.
Nazabal Amores is pretty clear on another point—this is not resort food. He says sometimes people get a bad taste for Cuban food because they’ve only experienced the heavily processed junk served at the big resorts that dot coastline of the island. “I’m proud and passionate of my Cuban values. I believe flavours, like music, can cross cultural boundaries in ways that language cannot. O' Cubano is my chance to share the Cuban values of real, healthy, and delicious food.”
He hopes his business can offer a similar experience to visiting a Cuban town, sitting down at a small market stall and enjoying a real Cuban meal. His recipes and inspiration come from his grandmother.
“My nanny was an incredible cook, I can vividly remember her flavours. I’m trying to include that in my recipes,” says Nazabal Amores. “I add my own personal twist, but I’m trying to bring out the greatness of her food.”
O' Cubano Cafe & Catering
Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market
2 Ochterloney Street
Saturdays and Sundays