The Squad- EFECT

E.F.E.C.T.

Exploratory Flavor Education Collaborative Team

 The Common Roots approach takes into consideration that everyone has something to bring to the table and that we can all learn from one another.  Everyone has a story and a different background, collaboration is key to the success of the organization.

Be part of the EFECT today! leave us a reply at the bottom of this page and let us know what your flavor is.  What is it that makes you unique, that gives you your personal swagger and style. How is it that you #CultivateWholisticNourishment ?

Check out some of the EFECT members stories below…


Meet Angela Salamanca, Chef/Owner of Centro Mexican Restaurant and NC’s first Mezcaleria, Gallo Pelon.

Angela Salamanca

http://www.centroraleigh.com/

1) Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in the Triangle area?

I am from Colombia and have been living in the Raleigh area for 21 years.

2) Do you feel as though this region has become more diverse in the last 10 years?

When I first got here in 1994, I was an oddity, and there were very few Hispanic offerings.

3) With an influx of such a variety of cultures and ethnicity to this area do you think this may pose a threat to Southern traditions?

I think roots run deep, but this new diversity presents a great opportunity for new collaborations and lots of learning from all parties.

4) Is it important to try to protect Southern traditions or do we just roll with the changes without trying to preserve?

I think traditions are important, but change is inevitable. Anything that resonates with the inhabitants of a place will stay and will be preserved, but people bring with them their own traditions and that has to be honored as well.

5) Do you think of food as a form of communications?

Food is the most basic way of communication and of nurturing one another. It is an offering of tradition and generosity.

6) Is there a dish that you’ve made or make that sort of sums up your style or your background? I guess a signature dish perhaps that really gives people a glimpse of your personality.

My go-to is Ajiaco. It’s a traditional potato and chicken soup from the Andes Mountains in Colombia. It is a basic chicken stock that’s thickened with different kinds of potatoes that are grown in the region. It gets its main flavor from guascas, a native herb from the mountains. I like making this dish and sharing it because it is sort of a communal experience. The soup itself is very basic, but it is served with many garnishes; cream, avocado, capers, cilantro, rice. Everyone can add what they like, and it is comforting and accessible.

7) What would you consider your “soul food”? What type of food really speaks to you or comforts you or is a strong food memory that can make you reminisce whenever you enjoy that dish?

Soul food for me is simple. I remember spending lots of time at Grandma’s house. At the time a respected Colombian kitchen always had a pot of white rice ready. She, as many grandmas would, feed us as her way to say, I love you. A quick meal, was rice, plantains with a fried egg on top. She could feed one or ten people like this. I loved it so much.

8) Sometimes people will simplify or strip down a recipe or a menu in order to appeal to a particular clientele. I think this can be a very tricky balance.  Has there ever been a time that you’ve felt this pressure in order to be more marketable?

It is a tricky balance, but I compromise less and less. There is an intention behind everything we create and offer, and when it is changed, it loses something.

9) Is there a particular food, ingredient or dish that you really love that you’ve either tried to put on your menu or are too hesitant to put on your menu because you don’t think that your guests are ready for?

I like “dirty meats”, or the off-cuts. I learned how to make stuffed blood sausages when I was little. I am very open minded when it comes to food. At the restaurant, the craziest thing we have done is beef tongue.

10) Sometimes there’s a learning curve that has to occur in order to slowly gain acceptance with customers are there ways that you’ve tried to subtly educate?

For the most part if you can gain your customers trust, they will try anything you suggest. That is the golden ticket!!!

11) Which artist will always show up on your soundtrack?

It depends on the day and on the mood. I am a hopeless romantic at heart, so I listen to a lot of blues. Lately I have Pandora on La Santa Cecilia station, and I love it!!!


Meet Maurice Small, Urban Ag consultant, compost enthusiast, and a positive force working to cultivate community in Raleigh and beyond!

Maurice Small

1)      Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in the Triangle area?

I’m originally from Cleveland Ohio and I’ve been living in the triangle for three years now.

2)      Would you consider the Triangle area to be a diverse place compared to other places you’ve lived?

It’s about as diverse as any other place. It’s not a New York, Chicago or San Francisco, but it’s enough to get by.

3)      Do you think that Southern traditions are threatened by an influx of “outsiders” (Northerners migrating south, as well as a larger immigration population)?

Threatened is a pretty big word and you gotta look at the word “threatened” and ask yourself the context of what you mean. Suffice it to say, perhaps some people in the south feel threatened by the gentrification of the south by people from the north and immigrants from other countries. If that’s the case it’s pretty interesting. On the other hand if it’s not threatening perhaps you can look at it as a new type of colonialism and that new ideas are coming from different parts of the world bringing ideas and reasoning’s to an area that haven’t changed its paradigm for 400 years.

4)      Is it important to try to protect Southern traditions to preserve its identity or do we just roll with the changes without trying to preserve?

I believe it is important to try to protect traditions because these traditions mean something to some people. At the same time we have to look at other cultures that are here in the south trying to preserve their own traditions. As these traditions are addressed, I think it needs to be in a uniform place in which a logical form of ideas and traditions can be discussed, shared and practiced. Respect for tradition, no matter how crazy or flippant must be at the core.

5)      Do you think of food as a form of communications?

Yes indeed.

6)      Do you think that Urban Agriculture practices could really save inner city areas that are considered food deserts? If so, in which ways?

Yes indeed. My job for the past 25 years has been to cultivate community and by cultivating community we are avoiding such negative words like “food desert”. And instead we are putting in positive words like “cultivating the wetland”. So let’s look at the phrase “cultivating the wetland” as we cultivate the possibilities of growing community. I will mention a few cities that have cultivated their communities to greater success using urban agriculture as a model. Number one, Cleveland, Ohio. Number two, Detroit, Michigan. Number three, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Number four, Youngstown, Ohio. Number five, Chicago, Illinois. Number six, New York City and the five boroughs. Number seven and 8, Montreal and Toronto Canada. Number nine, Louisville, Kentucky. Number 10, and last but not least Atlanta, Georgia. All one need do is Google urban ag with the cities that I just mentioned and see what pops up. All of these cities and so many more have taken the challenge to not accept the status quo of low food access and food insecurity. It all comes down to people, policy and politics. The people have the voice and their voices need to be heard. The policies need to be changed and archaic laws that don’t fit the communities needs anymore need to be addressed. And lastly, the politics of it is if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem and thusly you’re going to have to go.

7)       Farming is really hard work, it’s hard to sometimes motivate people to do work.  How do you get people to “buy in” to the idea that farming where they live is a good idea?

Show and prove. It’s as simple as creating the example and then duplicating the example 10, 15, 25 times. And even more than 25 times.  Please look at the major cities that I mentioned that have had and are having success with urban agriculture. They have all duplicated their successes numerous times. Please quote me on this … “Success is the biggest buy in.”

8)      How and when did you get into farming?

I got into farming back in the late 80’s when my oldest son was born. I flashed back to my youth and remembered that my dad grew flowers in the front yard and veggies in the back yard and he also grew fruit trees, nuts and berries on railroad property across the fence.  I want to duplicate what my dad had shown me as a kid for my son.

9)      I think you’re probably compost’s biggest fan.  Why are you so passionate about compost?

It gets back to that “success is the biggest buy-in”. With composting you see success pretty rapidly. You see results in your plants and you feel the energy from the nutrient density that the soil has because of the composting that you’re doing. I like results. Composting gives me results.

10)   There have been a ton of stories in the media recently about social injustices and poor race relations between minorities or people of color and law enforcement agencies around the country.  Do you think that urban planning which would take urban agriculture into consideration could improve this situation? If so, How?

I get paid as a consultant and that question is on the level of politics, policy and people so I can’t answer that in a public forum. Urban planners should know what to do as they’ve been “trained and educated” on these issues. Or have they?

11)   What would you consider your “soul food”? What type of food really speaks to you or comforts you or is a strong food memory that can make you reminisce whenever you enjoy that dish?

My soul food is something that has come out of my yard, my cousin’s yard, my mom’s yard. Homegrown or foraged…. That’s my soul food.

12)  If someone is new to gardening and would like to start, do you have a favorite vegetable or fruit you might suggest they begin with?

Lettuce is that crop that I really enjoy. We’ve always been a family to grow good lettuce and lettuce is pretty much everything as it’s served pretty much with every meal. It’s all about the color. The texture. The flavor and much, much more. Garlic is a very close second.

13)   Which artist will always show up on your soundtrack?

Lee Scratch Perry.

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Check out one of Maurice’s more recent projects called The Green Effect here…

https://m.facebook.com/thegreeneffect500?id=513166548743159

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Interview with Sherif Fouad the founder and part owner of Raleigh Raw.  Product development, sales, strategy, and marketing extraordinaire. 

http://www.raleighraw.com/

Sherif Fouad

Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in the Triangle area?

I’m originally from Egypt… We moved to the suburbs of Washington DC in the mid 80s and that’s where I went to grade school.  I attended ECU for undergrad, moved to Cali for a short while because I thought I might like it… I didn’t.

So I left quickly and began my professional career in NY City where I spent 6 doing corporate sales by day and Bartending /DJing at night.

In search of a better quality of life, With just a plane ticket and 1 bag of clothes I and came down to Raleigh to start fresh. No car, no house, no friends.  I couch surfed, found some odd jobs to get on my feet, and slowly began building from scratch. That was 4 years ago this week!

 Do you feel as though this region has become more diverse in the last 10 years?

I can’t tell you about 10 yrs ago but I have seen some major changes in the 4 years that I’ve lived here.  It’s a new and exciting time in North Carolina… We are starting to see outdated laws that infringe on civil rights start to be overturned, international businesses flooding RTP and Raleigh,  low barriers to entry / taxes for small business owners with fresh concepts, and some major colleges and universities that are attracting international bright students to the area. All of that has a direct effect on diversity.

With an influx of such a variety of cultures and ethnicity to this area do you think this may pose a threat to Southern traditions?

I don’t think it’s a threat so long as the existing culture is honored and represented.  There are some beautiful aspects of southern culture and some great businesses  and food spots that do an amazing job representing the south.

But it’s also important to have multidimensional, multicultural community to promote diversity and acceptance and drive out ignorance and intolerance.  See living in NY city, it seemed there was a cafe, restaurant, parade, or market for every culture in the world in every neighborhood of every borough…But that never threatened the pizza shops, the theaters, the music scene, the fashion district, or any other part of NY culture.  Raleigh won’t be any different.

Is it important to try to protect Southern traditions or do we just roll with the changes without trying to preserve? 

I think it’s important to preserve existing traditions as we promote the new.  No culture is superior to another.  But the beauty lies in understanding and appreciating the contrast.

Are there family traditions that you feel important to carry the torch on?

My dad used to make us all have dinner at the same time every night. Everyone had to be there. Which meant I had to leave my friends house and come home…. Which meant the TV had to be off. Even every light in the house had to be off except the light shining over the dinner table. I don’t know if he did that part out of being frugal w the light bill or the symbolism of all focus being on the table… I wouldn’t ask.  I didn’t realize the importance of that tradition then… It just felt forced. But it’s something I will carry on.

Do you think of food as a form of communications?

Well my dad certainly did.  He used food as a way to connect the family and strengthen the bond.  In my (Egyptian) culture everything social revolves around eating. In american culture, everything social revolves around alcohol….  So the conversations barely scratch the surface.

Is there a dish/juice that you’ve made or make that sort of sums up your style or your background? I guess a signature dish perhaps that really gives people a glimpse of your personality. 

Yeah … I love cold raw seafood with cilantro, red onion, and a citrus dressing like lime or ponzu or lemon. So that means ceviche (Peruvian styleee)  raw oysters, sushi, octopus etc.

What would you consider your “soul food”? What type of food really speaks to you or comforts you or is a strong food memory that can make you reminisce whenever you enjoy that dish?

All the signature Egyptian dishes… I grew up on lots of purees with olive oil…  Hummus (chick peas), foul (fava bean) , tahini (sesame) , baba ghanoush (eggplant) … All of it is eaten with pita bread… No utensils.

Even when I moved out on my own I continued to eat like that. My college roommate, Jon would clown me saying it looked like throw-up. He’d be like “what’s THAT !??” I’d be like “foul”… (It’s pronounced fool) so he would say “yeah because you gotta be a fool to eat something that looks like that.”  … Maybe I wasn’t making as well as my grandma.

Sometimes people will simplify or strip down a recipe or a menu in order to appeal to a particular audience.  I think this can be a very tricky balance.  Has there ever been a time that you’ve felt this pressure in order to be more marketable?

I agree … A  tricky balance indeed.  Our early juices were potent! Lots of greens, heavy ginger, bitter, full of nutrients with little fruit.  I call them “NY style juices” But early adopters gave us quick feedback that the consumer base in NC was not ready for that.

We adjusted our recipes to make them more commercially viable… Less ginger, more green apple, lemon. But they are still mostly veg based.

Most companies do mostly fruit with little veg so most consumers have a palate that is trained to draw towards sweetness. We want people to realize that they can retrain / evolve their palate in just a few days time.  You’re a grown up now… Eat like it.

How did you get into juice!?

In NY city juice bars are as common as coffee shops. When I moved to Raleigh I immediately noticed there wasn’t even 1.  Juicing has become such an integral part of my daily routine, I found this a huge disruption.

I was physically tired without juicing daily and the only remedy around was coffee shops. I’ve always said that coffee treats the symptoms of being tired whereas juice treats the root cause of being tired.

So I had to make my own juices at home every day which is so time-consuming. At the same time I was teaching my dad to incorporate juice and smoothies into his diet to help him with his cancer and diabetes by reducing his insulin levels and raising his alkaline /PH levels.

It become clear very quickly that there was a void in the local market and I was best suited to fill it.

Sometimes there’s a learning curve that has to occur in order to slowly gain acceptance with customers are there ways that you’ve tried to subtly educate?

We set out to educate in the beginning but we found that instead, it was more important for us to devote our limited time and resources to creating the best quality organic juices.  We didn’t wanna be the Jehovah witness knocking down doors.  We host educational content for this who want to seek it out. We educate via blogs, our website, and community events, but for the most part, our regular customers take on the task of educating the public.

We found that we would best serve the community if we focused on the product rather than convincing people why it was important… With a great product we now have many voices passing along our message … Not just us. And when it’s our customers advocating for us, there’s more trust because there’s no bias.

Which artist will always show up on your soundtrack?

Stevie wonder ! I also like the modern day soul singers like Aloe Blacc and John Legend but anyone who knows me knows of my affinity for Stevie Wonder music. And anyone who has lived with me or has partied with me, has been force-fed some Stevie!


Interview with Deniz Ender, Medical Librarian, Rex UNC Hospital. International Festival of Raleigh coordinator.

Deniz Enders

Deniz Ender

Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in the Raleigh area?

I was born in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey in 1964.  I graduated from Aegean University in Izmir in 1985 with a degree in German Languages and Literature.  After my graduation, I met my husband and moved to USA where I completed my graduate studies in Library Sciences.  Currently I am working as a medical librarian at Rex UNC Hospital.

Since my early teenage years, I enjoyed cooking.  I loved trying new recipes and join my mother on her weekly trips to farmers market in my hometown. I watched my grandmother making savory pastries from scratch; I helped my mom making popular German coffee cakes; and enjoy reading cookbooks from different regions, countries.  Cooking was big part of our lives.

27 years ago, after I moved to USA, I continued cooking at home.  Kitchen was the place where our children would study in late afternoons while I prepared family dinner.   Even today, we all are looking forward to our family dinners at home where we all get together around home cooked meal.

How and why did you become involved with the International Festival of Raleigh?

I have been involved with International Festival for many years.  Over the years, my role has changed.  My involvement started when our sons were performing traditional folklore dances.   As they got older, they started to volunteer at the event and I got involved with coordinating Cooking Demonstrations.

Having been exposed to variety of cultures and ethnic groups, I have recognized the value of diversity in the community.  Communicating with all the local chefs from various ethnic backgrounds for a common goal is invaluable.  Chefs’ active participation allows attendees to get engaged and learn.  Recipes become one common language among people from different societies.

 If you could name one dish or ingredient that takes you back home what would that be? What is your soul food?

menemen

Ingredients: Lentil, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, plain yogurt, egg. The dish called Menemen is my soul food. It is prepared by poaching eggs in tomato and green pepper sauce.

Are there ingredients you’re not able to get here very easily? If so what would they be and have you had to adapt recipes with the ingredients found locally?

These days we can find most of the ingredients from local Mediterranean or Lebanese grocery stores. I used to long for simit (sesame covered round bread). Several years ago I learned how to make this very popular street food from one of my friends.   I also worked in a bakery so I could practice how to make simit while I was in my hometown in Turkey.

Simit

Could you tell us more about the Turkish cooking classes you’ve done and what the organization is called? 

For over six years, we are teaching Turkish Cooking Classes at American Turkish Association of North Carolina. During these sessions, we prepare most popular dishes from Turkish cuisine. Members of ATA-NC Cooking Club assist with most of the classes. The hands on classes are followed by social hour where the dinner is served and questions about meal answered.

We usually complete the classes by serving Turkish Tea or coffee. The schedule for Spring 2015 classes can be found at the link below:

http://www.ata-nc.org/p/classes/cooking/

cheese in olive oil
Cheese in olive oil and sumac
rice pudding
Rice pudding
semolina and ice cream
Semolina and ice cream


Everybody’s Environment-

Melanie Allen, conservation and diversity coordinator for the Conservation Trust For North Carolina was the keynote speaker at an event in Asheville, NC in October.  The event was  hosted by The Center for Diversity Education at UNC Asheville.  Attendees of the event were movers and shakers in that region who work for environmental and conservation organizations and the main focus of discussion was how to diversify the staff of these organizations and create more inclusion involving the communities in which they work in. Read more here…. https://mountainx.com/news/everybodys-environment-discusses-diversity-in-conservation-movements/ Melanie Allen, conservation and diversity coordinator for the Conservation Trust For North Carolina, delivered the keynote address at Everybody's Environment. Photo by Carrie Eidson



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