Interview

La Taskita

La Taskita

In relation with the Venezuelan community in Montreal, I did an interview with the owner of the Latin specialities restaurant, La Taskita.

1. In what year did you arrive in Quebec?

In 1994. (He left Venezuela during the bank crisis in 1994, after de two coups d’état of Chávez in 1992.)

2. For what reason(s) did you leave Venezuela?

For political reasons. (Because of all the problems president Caldera had with the economy and the revolutionaries.)

3. Is there a reason you chose Quebec as host country?

Someone of his family was already living here, and because there are not a lot of immigration visas, there are not a lot of options. (Because of all the problems Venezuela has had since 1987, the United States closed the immigration possibilities and the visas for Venezuela. It is the same thing for Cuba. Because the United States are one of the references in this, the rest of the world closes itself to those countries. Canada is one of the rare country where it is pretty easy to immigrate.)

4. How was your integration in the Quebecker community? And the Venezuelan?

The Venezuelan community is very small. There are more in Alberta. The Quebecker integrated him very well, they are all welcoming. And the Venezuelans are in general well integrated here, they all speak the languages spoken here and that is why they are well integrated. 80% of his clientele is Quebecker because they feel comfortable and they like the efforts he is making. They like the fact that he can speak and understand all they say, because in general when you do not understand them they get frustrated. (He understands that the Quebecker like people who integrate the Quebecker culture to their own. They like people who keep their culture but are also interested in our culture.)

5. Do you like Quebec’s culture?

He adores it.

6. Have you made your studies in your country of origin or in Quebec?

In his country of origin. (Since he got here when he was 30, it is normal that he made his studies in his country.)

7. Would you like to go back to Venezuela one day?

No, only to visit. (For all the political reasons and the persisting problems over there, going back now would be going back to the situation he fled.)

8. Do you still have contact with people in your country of origin?

Yes, all his family is still there.

9. Did you speak a bit of French before getting here?

No. Not at all.

10. Did you have any difficulties with the language of was it easy for you?

He took a 2 years class when he got here, but it is rather easy for him to learn languages, so he started talking with people. (He put a very big effort, spoke with people in the street and people he knew helped him.)

11. Do you have children? In which language did you raise them?

Yes. In Spanish because it’s his culture. They learned French and English in school or on television. They speak Spanish at home. (His culture is really important for him and he understands that his kids can learn the rest at school or in everyday life with their friends or on television or the radio and so on.)

12. Is it important for you that your children speak Spanish, French and English?

It is important for him that they speak at least 5 languages. Because he speaks 5 languages, his children cannot speak less. (It is important for him that his kids do more than him. They learned Spanish at home, French and English at school, but for the rest, they have to do it with classes or DVD s or books. He encourages his children to learn as much as possible.)

13. Why so many languages?

To speak and communicate with everyone.

14. Do you think there is and influence of your country in the way you do things?

He calls himself 100% Venezuelan.

15. For how long have you had the restaurant?

3 years.

16. And why a restaurant?

It is an opportunity he took. He liked to cook but had never done it for others before.

17. And you do everything alone?

No. He has chefs and learns from them, so when they do not come, he does everything himself. But they do what he says, because it’s his flavour. He takes part in the kitchen and serves the costumers. He had a waitress before, but because of the recession, he cannot pay someone else.

18. What were you doing before?

He was a Graphic Designer.

19. Are the meals of the restaurant only Venezuelan?

No. 30%. The restaurant is Spanish because people ask for it. (Spanish, Italian, Mexican, Peruvian, Chilean, Colombian). Venezuelan cuisine it very little know and developped so it is necessary to offer other things for the costumers. (For the people who are afraid of eating something they do not know or to satisfy everyone when he receives groups.)

20. What are the languages you speak?

Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Italian. And Quebecker.

21. If you did not have the restaurant, what would you be doing?

Still publicity.

What I can pull out of this interview is that, in general, the Venezuelans do not regroup themselves as other Latinos do, like the Italians for example. The Venezuelans, because they are few, scatter in the other Latin communities.

La Taskita

7671, rue St-Hubert coin Villeray

H2R 2N7

Montréal (Québec)

514-315-7986

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~ par valerieecloutier sur 28/05/2010.

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