In a serendipitous collision of cultures and passions, Jess, a spirited Canadian, and Diego, a vibrant Argentinian, found each other through their shared love for rivers and nature. Having lived and immersed themselves in the captivating landscapes of both South America and Canada, their bond deepened as they discovered their mutual love for good food, good friends, and good connections to the places they lived and played.
Jess and Diego have always loved bringing the laid back feeling and great food of Argentine culture back to their friends and family in Canada. Originally making empanadas for special gatherings, they were soon inspired to give others an excuse to gather and eat good food: “Latino Nights” at Diego and Jess’s house were born.
Many gatherings later, and many friends asking for her empanadas, they tested out the idea of selling their empanadas in the same way many folks in Argentina do: cooking them at home and selling them on the side of the road. Their first customers ordered through Facebook and in just two days Diego and Jess had to make over 900 empanadas for their customers!
In May 2021, drawing inspiration from their diverse backgrounds, they decided to turn Mamacita’s Empanadas into a real business. This culinary endeavor seamlessly marries the flavors and traditions of Canada and Argentina, celebrating the essence of their cross-continental love story. Each empanada they craft is a testament to their shared experiences, encapsulating the essence of riverside memories, the warmth of shared meals, and the fusion of their rich heritages.
Together, Diego & Jess strive to bring that laid-back South American feeling into the homes of Canadians. Their love for good food and bringing people together is the driving force behind the business. They invite others to partake in their unique journey, savouring the deliciousness of their cuisine while embracing the universal values of diversity, multiculturalism, and the joy of togetherness.
ABOUT JESS: Jess was born and raised in British Columbia. She is a pivotal member of the team, with a background deeply rooted in experiential learning and a genuine love for crafting tasty experiences. She possesses an innate ability to blend traditional flavors with modern twists. Her responsibilities extend far beyond the kitchen. She plays a vital role in product development, marketing, sales, and basically acts as the do-it-all employee. Her creative prowess is evident in the diverse range of empanada fillings that Mamacita’s Empanadas has become renowned for, capturing the essence of different cultures while maintaining an authentic touch.
Outside of the kitchen, Jess is an advocate for cultural food sustainability and community development. She is interested in partnering with local food producers and processors to foster a sense of identity, community, and connection. In small towns, where social interactions are often more personal, sharing and enjoying cultural dishes can bridge gaps, promote understanding, and create a warm atmosphere where people can explore different flavours while preserving their unique local traditions.
“I’ve been so inspired by the people who tell me stories of how my empanadas bring them back to the time they were in South America; sipping margaritas on the beach, cycling the Carretera Austral, wine tasting in Malbec country, hiking the Andes, and backpacking the Inca trail. For many people, biting into an empanada brings them back to that laid-back lifestyle. I have my family to thank for where I am today. I couldn’t have made it this far, or made such delicious empanadas, without them.”
ABOUT DIEGO: Multiculturalism and food are inseparable agents of connection and understanding, enriching our lives by introducing us to diverse flavours and traditions from around the world. In this context, Diego assumes a crucial role as our official taste-tester, a position he proudly embraces. Hailing from Mendoza, Argentina, known for its abundant sunshine and excellent wines, Diego’s palate is finely tuned to appreciate the nuances of flavors. Beyond his role as a taste-tester, Diego is a vital behind-the-scenes force, actively supporting the effort to bring Mamacita’s Empanadas into the comfort of your home. His birthplace’s legacy of embracing good food and camaraderie has undoubtedly contributed to his passion and dedication to sharing culinary delights that transcend borders and unite us all.
“Love my life in Canada, the easy going people where everyone seems to be happy and embracing multiculturalism. To have the chance to create a business that represents where I come from and that strives not only on financial success but also in showcasing a bit of what the easygoing South American and Argentinian culture are is part of the great things about living in Canada. Reasons like this are just fuel to the fire of wanting to grow in such a welcome society.” – Diego