Danny Torres Serves Up a Taste of His Home

 

Full Gatherings and Fuller Stomachs

“Cooking was a big part of my childhood. All my brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles: everybody cooks and cooks well.” Growing up in Puerto Rico, Danny’s adolescent memories were full of the savory senses of pigeon pea rice and roasted pork, fried empanadas and mofongos: homemade foods prepared, to no one’s objection, in surplus. “We’re a big family. There were a lot of birthday parties and a lot of gatherings. Everybody always brought their own dish, sometimes a tray, to share.”

 

After leaving Puerto Rico for Lawrence, MA, Danny’s culinary passion only grew, working as a cook in various local restaurants and hotels. He loved working in a kitchen, yet as the offspring of a long line of entrepreneurs, Danny wanted to create something of his own and work for himself. He wanted to decide what kind of cuisine he would cook, to prepare the foods most important to him. During this time, Danny’s father moved from Puerto Rico to join his son in the U.S. after Hurricane Maria severely damaged his own business. His father’s arrival inspired Danny to take a leap. “I’ve always talked to my dad about having a food truck so when he came here, we thought “why don’t we do this now? We’re so close and have been cooking for so long, we wanted to continue working for ourselves.”

 

A Taste of Home

Danny and his father’s food truck, El Encanto BBQ, serves Puerto Rican street food. “We want to promote the traditional food that we share as a family and as Puerto Ricans. It’s a reminder of everything from growing up – my favorite foods from home.” In an area with a large Caribbean population, the nostalgia peppered into Danny’s food is contagious. “Often when someone eats our food, they feel like they’re back home.” In the food truck’s early stages, Danny knew he needed financial support. He discovered Accion through Entrepreneurship for All and used his loan to purchase cooking equipment and make improvements to the truck. “My experience with Accion has been so helpful – it feels great that someone believed in me even though I didn’t have a lot of background as a business owner.”

 

Lessons Learned

Danny has learned a great deal from his father, who comes from a vastly different culinary background, and the pair continue to share and combine new culinary techniques. The two plan to eventually open a Caribbean and Puerto Rican buffet. From witnessing the entrepreneurial successes of his relatives and experiencing the milestones of his own culinary journey, Danny’s ambitious nature continues to grow. “I’ve learned hard work pays off. I’ve seen how hard my family has worked and the things they have accomplished. The life we live is based on the work we’ve done to get here.”