Join us this month as we sit down with Natacha Gomez our newest Certified Ambassador and founder and member of: Le festival du Café, Le Salon de la Nouvelle Gastronomie Haitienne, Co-owner of Kanowa Farms, President of AFADEM ( Aksyon Fanm Pou Demen Miyo), President of Women 4 Better World, Co-producer of Concours Culinaire Franco-Haitien, and Co owner of INVESTA.
Please introduce who you are and your company affiliation.
NG: I was born up in Cap-Haitian, a Historic city on the Northern Coast of Haiti, I have two wonderful kids and live between the Caribbean and the United states. Early in my life I was involved in community projects from helping elders to learn to read to become member of Rotary International, Local chamber of commerce, Culinary Alliances and worked in several cultural project for the public sector. I have received many awards locally and internationally and I am grateful that my work can inspire others to embrace this career.
I believe that without passion for your craft you won’t succeed in our industry because it requires a lot of dedication and sacrifices and I will also say that I have the most beautiful job in the world the combination of Travel, Tourism and gastronomy, that allow me to address, raise awareness, advocate for preservation of Cultural heritage, promote traditional and new gastronomy, a better food system and Women Empowerment.
Please share what your company does, who you work with, where you operate, your company goals, etc. Anything to help readers better understand what you do.
NG: We are a family owned event company based in the United States and Haiti who provides cultural and culinary experiences by organizing conferences, dinners, Food and Caribbean products festivals, cooking classes ,workshops, speakers for conferences ,travel tours and catering services our website is www.natachagomez.com and www.investahaiti.com we cater to both private and public sector in each events with prioritize working with local business.
One of our goal is to share our culture with the world, our gastronomy who started with the Tainos to the #newhaitiangastronomy and bring the #newcuisine as ambassadors to the world.
What is your company working on – what can we expect to see next from you or your company? Do you have an upcoming milestone that you would like to share?
NG: As an international company our main goal is to bring you the best 100% Lokal Experience each country we work in has to offer. Our events are designed around Local history, culture, culinary customs, regional dishes, the work of farmers and traditional and modern trends. Since 1998 we have been researching about Haitian and American food and beverage influences.
In Haiti we started working with farmers to replant long lost crops since the Tainos to help the new generation understand and valorize our culture, to put diversity on our plate. Each part of the country as a main dish that should be in the forefront of this town food tourism tour that tells the story of that specific community promoting and valorizing is our contribution to the tourism sector.
One of our goals is to export our Food Tourism event; Salon de la Nouvelle Gastronomie (Salon of the New Haitian Gastronomy) around the world starting September 2020 we will launch in NY and to host Conferences about Food Tourism.
We will engage more in raising awareness for biodiversity that is an essential part of the solution to climate change, altogether the Tourism industry specially the eco-tourism, the food and beverage industry could lose billions per year if the loss of biodiversity continues at this alarming pace.
What are your top 3 favorite food/beverage destinations and why do you like them?
NG: 1st I would say the Caribbean for of its climate, the richness of culture, the gastronomy you can experience all the continents while visiting the Caribbean but what I like the most is their potential for growth as Tourism destinations they are truly hidden gems. Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Curacao should be on everyone list.
The United States would come second for diversity, new trends, commodities, attractions and the night life you can experience the world in most of the states. New York and Los Angeles are my favorites along with American Samoa
3rd would be Europe if you love History like me, old towns, good food and Champagne, Europe is the happy place to be and to top it off some cities are doing amazing works to change our way of life and help save the planet, lately I was in Stockholm and I fell in love with the sensation of wellbeing that city gives you, their won battle for recycling and green living is motivating and infectious and they environmental policies can have a positive impact on the world. Paris, Reims, Bruxelles, Amsterdam and Stockholm are the top on my list.
Why did you join the World Food Travel Association?
NG: Our industry is a global market and every destination has something unique to teach visitors, for me the World Food Travel Association is the bond and the link to put us all together to facilitate discussions, to learn from each other partnership is the solution to give the boost the Food and beverage Tourism sector needs.
When and how did your interest in food/beverage tourism begin?
NG: My parents, grandparents included made a great job raising my brother and I early they teach us about what it takes to be a great citizen ,how to be in service to others and mostly they share their knowledge with us about the history the lands our island and others we traveled a lot locally and internationally what we learn in books were shown to us my grandmother introduces me to farming I was more interested in eating a vegetable because I know I would get to plant that seed of that tomatoes and would get to brag about the sweetness of an orange because it was mine special orange tree, I loved to hear stories about how people use to live back in the days what they were eating and my grandmother did design a space in her kitchen just for me and I was 5 and by 9 I was behind the cooks on my parents 1st restaurant so I can really say that my interest for food and beverage tourism started early in my life.
I started in my professional life as a travel professional with American airlines then I got to open my own Travel and Tours agency sharing my love for travel with clients looking for that perfect local spots to discover and enjoy knowing that culture really has no frontier was the best experience ever, meanwhile I was still in the restaurant business with my family ,I became a Chef and a culinary instructor ,an event planner, a farmer and an ambassador for our label 100% Lokal ,that label was created for traceability and promotion for locally sourced products and little that I know that it will become a lifestyle and a global action campaign call.
What advice do you have for prospective members of the Association? Why should they join?
NG: My advice for prospective member would be that old African saying; If you want to go fast go alone if you want to go far go together. A community of like-minded people can have a big impact globally, we can create trends we have the power to create demands, to work together for a better future. So join US!
A final word?
NG: I like to talk about respect, because respect leads to love. Love brings unity and prosperity, the love for our planet will entice our farmers to produce better crops, it will spike the creativity of our chefs to put a twist on traditional dishes and use lesser known ingredients or come up with new recipes, it will boost the need to travel to discover new flavors and by that our economy will bloom and we will leave the world at a better place than we had for the next generation.