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  • Writer's pictureKarine Allouche Salanon

Meet Soraya from Clandestine Food

It all started 5 years ago when Soraya's daughter Sasha and her husband Christopher invited her parents to visit the south of Costa Rica to consider the option to rent a hotel since Soraya's husband has been working in hospitality. When they arrived they fell in love with this beautiful paradise. During their stay, they visited Uvita on Saturday, and when they entered the feria there and met many passionate artisans and thought it was a beautiful way to share your passion.

She had an agreement to open a restaurant, in their country in Venezuela, with her older brother as they are both share the same passion, giving the best and love to make amazing delicious dishes.

Arab food was the beginning of their adventure in the culinary world since their parents are Lebanese, their mother was born in Lebanon and their father in Brazil. Unfortunately they had to leave their country 8 years ago, due to the situation in Venezuela.

Her brother was her inspiration to start the ferias in Costa Rica, in honor of the restaurant that they wanted to open in Venezuela. She told herself : 'we are going to do it dear brother, in the ferias where you have human contact with other people and share with them delicious and healthy food'. Then the idea came to make Arabic and Mediterranean food that encompasses a world of recipes she adapted to local taste.

Over time, Soraya got to know local farmers, some certified organic. She loved visiting their farms and see their work that resulted in amazing quality of produce. With time she realized the difference in price for organic products was worth every penny, and she chose to only serve organic to give quality and healthy produce to her customers.

Her products are unique because the main ingredients are love, dedication and mostly organic ingredients, her mission was always to give the client's palate a sea of ​​explosion of flavors and good service also as a Private Chef and Catering service.

Every day I love to create new recipe, new dishes like the chickpea salad, Kale patty, chard patty with tomato and Arabian spices and so much more.

She shared her innovation in many places. When they moved to the capital, for their daughter studies, Soraya brought her passion with her to the Kilometer 0 Fair, in Escazú. At first it was really a challenge because the customers where different. The majority were Costa Rican while she had serve mostly foreigners until now. But overtime, success continued and she started to also distribute her products at te Mercado Natural de Curí in Curridabat an other organic produce focused feria.

She also had many appearance on television, on the channel's family to share her innovative products and the many adaptation to fit local taste. She continued to innovate by deepening her offering with vegan and gluten-free options to be inclusive for ALL!

Soraya was sharing with me one fun interaction she had thanks to her inclusive approach. Last year, she was giving a tasting of my products outside Mama Toucan, during the ENVISION festival week, a group approached to ask if she had vegan options. And she gladly got them to try it and they just loved it. Then they called their other friends and asked her for several dishes, when she started to prepare them and one of them called her, and when she looked up they were recording her. She got nervous. And they re-assured her, telling her we are from Rice and Beans and we love to capture the naturalness of the human being, they laughed for a while and it was a teaching for her subsequent interviews. Sharing food is such a great vehicle to connect with each other! With the feria closing, she joined HELPCA to continue to reach more customers, and have her beautiful products delivered to the beautiful community of Costa Ballena. You can visit her HELPCA stand!

She thanks her brother for giving her the push to start her culinary passion, her mistakes as she learns from them, her clients for always being there and encouraging her to move forward and her husband and children for always being the engine of love and encouragement to continue with her beautiful baby: Clandestine Food CR.

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