Yojan Gonzalez and Lisa Plasencia of A Lo Cubano Kitchen stay true to their roots and culture

Yojan Gonzalez & Lisa Plasencia  A Lo Cubano Kitchen
Photo by Rob Bartlett

Yojan Gonzalez is from Cuba, Lisa Plasencia is from Miami and, together, the husband-and-wife tandem behind the A Lo Cubano Kitchen food truck bring a little taste of Havana's Malecón and the flavor of Miami's Calle Ocho to the streets of Orlando.

What effect has your personal immigrant experience had on your business's evolution? As an immigrant coming from Cuba where we didn't have anything to the United States where I didn't know the language and I didn't have any money, it was a struggle. Not having anything, but having the opportunities, made me work that much harder. I pushed the envelope to be better and have a better life than where I came from. Working to be the best we can, and provide a better life for the future generations, is why we do this.

click to enlarge Yojan Gonzalez & Lisa Plasencia  A Lo Cubano Kitchen
Photo by Rob Bartlett

Have you ever felt the need to compromise in order to satisfy a broader palate? As chefs, we try to stay true to our roots and culture. Being an immigrant chef and my wife being a Cuban-American chef, we've been able to come up with a modern twist to our menu while staying true to the flavors we grew up with – creating a modern interpretation to a classic dish that we know everyone will love.

How are you reducing food waste? What are you doing to make the restaurant more sustainable? We really focus on trying to utilize our food and not waste anything. We put leftovers to good use by making specials for that week. For example, my wife will make guava bread pudding from any extra bread we have. I use escabeche for ropa vieja and chicken will be used to make croquetas. We have cultivated an organic herb garden as well so that we're always using the freshest ingredients.

click to enlarge Yojan Gonzalez & Lisa Plasencia  A Lo Cubano Kitchen
Photo by Rob Bartlett

What was your first food addiction? Being that I came from Cuba and my wife is from Miami, we had the same food addiction growing up – croquetas! You'll never find frozen, store-bought croquetas at A Lo Cubano. They're always made fresh and we're constantly finding new ways to give them a twist! (facebook.com/alocubanokitchen) ▲

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