If you build it, they will come. That is the career-spanning mantra for Eduardo Dorta, an architect turned food entrepreneur. For Eduardo and his wife, Miriam Chalita, or "Mimi," constructing something out of nothing comes naturally. After all, he builds things and she creates traditional Latin treats in the kitchen with a mother's love.
Eduardo and Mimi are the owners of Empanadas2go, a new frozen food business selling empanadas, a traditional Latin street food item characterized by signature half-moon pockets of dough filled with savory and sweet ingredients.
Eduardo told me it began with his wife, Mimi, preparing empanadas for her daughter's school lunch. Empanadas were originally made for a quick and easy way for the Latino working population to eat a meal. Baked or fried pockets of dough, often filled with meat and cheese, could be held and eaten with one hand. Hence, a suitable bag lunch item for Mimi and Eduardo's daughter.
After a while, their daughter sparked intrigue within the cafeteria. People were asking about the empanadas at school, and soon Mimi was preparing empanadas for a handful of individuals. At the same time, Eduardo, an architect and contractor, suffered a job loss that left the family looking for a new opportunity.
"I said to Mimi," says Eduardo, "'Why don't we start making the empanadas?'"
This is exactly what they did eight months ago. Now, you can find Eduardo Dorta nearly every Saturday, either at the Davidson Farmers Market or Atherton Mill, handing out samples of the many varieties of sweet and savory empanadas handmade by his wife. There is a nutella and banana variety, mushroom and goat cheese, and guava and cream cheese, all made with top quality, organic ingredients.
Empanadas2go is a frozen food item, vacuum-packaged and sold in the frozen food section at Healthy Home Markets all over Charlotte. Of course, you can find the friendly-faced Dorta, donning a white chefs coat at local farmer's markets introducing people to a small pocket of his Venezuelan culture and his family.
Keia Mastrianni loves to tell stories about local food products and the people behind them. When she's not scouting out local discoveries, she's steadily working in her vegetable garden, spending time in the kitchen and nosing through cookbooks. She maintains a happy food blog called The Sunnysideup where she shares recipes and her culinary adventures.