Chef Peri Saleh fell in love with food as a child. In university, she would invite friends and cook for them. She founded the Latin kitchen Gracias because she was always drawn to Latin American Culture. “Such rich cuisine! On my first visit to Mexico, I was hooked on tacos, they are so versatile,” Peri tells.
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Peri’s passion for food matches her passion for travel as well
She has amazing tips for discovering the best local food while traveling. “First, stay away from main streets and tourist zones. Second, research beforehand the oldest eateries and known local dishes. Third, ask locals about their favorite place to eat these dishes, and finally, wander and don’t be afraid to ask someone to take you to a food market,” Peri explains.
Peri’s journey into cooking wasn’t without its obstacles
“I didn’t know where to begin, I initially applied to work in anything food-related. Also, I wasn’t lucky to have mentors.
“So, I jumped without a parachute to learn through Gracias.”
Peri continues, “my third obstacle is sustaining a startup. I am still trying to overcome it, all I know is that I need patience, and to keep a strong strategy, and not be hard on myself.”
Moreover, Chef Peri Saleh believes the road to improve the food industry starts with farming. “setting proper agricultural steps to better produce. We have so much potential that we don’t put to good use,” Peri says.
Peri went into the food industry expecting sexism but was pleasantly surprised.
“I believed there was sexism before starting Gracias, but then I was so happy to discover there are people who just care for having a fair environment regardless of who they are working with,” Peri continues,
“It does take being grounded, though, to be a female chef, I’m unapologetic about being myself and I feel it makes them accept me as well.”
Peri’s favorite comfort food unsurprisingly leans towards Latin American food, “tacos or pasta caccio e pepe, it’s either Mexican or Italian for me!” she concludes.