As Cuba has eased some of its government regulations and Cuban-US relations continue to warm, life is changing in both countries, in little ways like the ease with which Americans will be able to light up Cuban cigars and big ones, like the shift of millions of Cubans into private business. Many of those private businesses, as it turns out, are restaurants. The number of Cuban paladares, or private restaurants has gone up 1500 percent in the last 5 years. One of them is Atelier.
A new video from Seeker Stories follows Atelier’s owner Niuris Isabel Higueras Martinez and gives insight into what it’s like cook for people in Cuba today. And while the process of serving up ropa vieja isn’t all that different than it would be anywhere, owning a private restaurant in the communist country comes with a unique set of challenges. As Higueras Martinez points out, no one respected business owners, regardless of what they did and that’s only now starting to change. And it’s not only attitudes, it’s actual operations that are hard. Shopping for ingredients is all done at a single state run market and always in cash. But despite all that things are looking up for Higueras Martinez. The restaurant has doubled in size and employs 15 people now. Oh, and the view of Havana from the roof isn’t bad either.
Watch the whole story above and if you want to figure out how you can make a stop at Atelier, check out our Cuba travel guide.