Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Yesterday a group of Honduran Garínagu youths met at my humble abode (also known as Gotay’s Place) to listen to Tomas Sanchez and I give a short talk on doing service for the Garífuna community. They arrived through a contact of Tomas Sanchez, a friend of his from California. This meeting was especially ‘mystical’ since my place had been blown away by a tornado less than one month ago.
I had prepared something for the guests and I to eat, but first we joined some tables together to sit and talk about issues in the Garífuna community. First, Tomas spoke about service to the Garífuna community and from there he was able to ease into a dialogue about issues of special import to the Garífuna community such as education, tourism and agriculture, with a special emphasis on tourism and agriculture. Afterwards, I spoke of spirituality, what it means to our people and how it affects the modern Garínagu youths.
If you would like to know more about this meeting or about Garífuna spirituality in general (or about the food I prepared for the group), I invite you to leave a comment or email me directly.
Friday, March 25, 2011
A Garífuna dish reminds me of the phrase soul food because Garífuna cuisine is a connection between the soul and the satisfaction that allows us to touch each other's life. Food is a source of life, however, when you can convert food into a traditional dish it is a link between you and me.
My name is Mariano Gotay, the owner of Café Gotay in Livingston, Guatemala, serving a vast array of traditional Garífuna dishes. I lived in several different countries which has given me the experience necessary to know what a client looks for in a restaurant. Aside from the extraordinary views of either a quiet river or the bustling center of town you can enjoy at either of my two locations, what you desire is good tasting food. I do not purchase bulk quantities of spices and herbs --- why would I? Livingston's fertile soil is blessed with the footsteps and wisdom of our Garífuna áhari, our ancestors. In your travels around Guatemala you will have tried the usual, traditional Guatemalan fare, but Garífuna cuisine offers a sensory sensation of the likes you won't experience in Antigua, Panajachel, Guatemala City or Petén.
Equally important to the Garífuna culture is the relationship that links us with other cultures through the Garifuna dish. Here is an excerpt from a client who brought her parents to my restaurant for a special occasion.
“Before eating here I spoke with the owner, Mariano Gotay. I told him that I was dying to try the tapado, the traditional Garifuna dish prepared with plantain, coconut milk and lots of seafood, but I was a vegetarian. Mariano did not hesitate and replied that he would prepare a vegetarian tapado that I would love. The food was so flavorful that it almost brought tears to my eyes. Not since my mom’s Jamaican cooking had I experience such vibrant and exciting flavor”.
I would like invite you to an experience of a lifetime.
Aba isieni ('one love')