Fanny Chapman misses many things about her native Mexico. Food tops the list.
Having moved to Canada in 1993 with her husband Steve Chapman, a machinist with B.C. Hydro, she has lived all over province. Access to the basic ingredients to make traditional Mexican cuisine has been sporadic at best.
Chapman (née Bader Castañeda), originally from Acapulco, took matters into her own hands, opening El Gusto Latino food market in February. It is located on Coldstream Avenue (next to Teeter Totter Toys).
“I miss it,” said Chapman. “I couldn’t find it in Vernon. In Vancouver, it was easy to find. There were stores everywhere, but not in the Interior. There was a need for it.”
Lining El Gusto’s shelves are the staple ingredients – including fresh tortillas, corn masa mix, hot sauces, chorizo, cheese, tamales, dried peppers, chipotle – to make authentic Mexican dishes and other Latino fare.
“You can make your own things from scratch,” said Chapman, who settled with her family – daughter Fanny, seven, and son Robert, six – in Vernon in 2010.
Chapman adds El Gusto will be a good fit for the seasonal influx of Mexican workers who come to the region to work in the orchards during the growing and harvest seasons.
El Gusto also offers free cooking lessons on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m.