Louisville Magazine

AUG 2015

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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118 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.15 7 e As a kid in Cuba, Fernando Martinez learned to cook from his mother Yolanda and his grandmother Ella, women who made a weekly family dinner of roast chicken, black beans and rice. "I can still smell that chicken roasting and (remember) the waiting for it and the family together," Martinez, now in his early- 40s, says. "I was always in the kitchen, watching them, and just trying to help all the time." By the time Martinez was 18, he had to quickly fgure out a way to make a living because his girlfriend was By Elizabeth Myers Photo by Mickie Winters Because in the time it takes you to read this, Fernando Martinez will probably open another restaurant. expecting. In what would be the frst in a long career of delicious business ventures, Martinez "would make sandwiches and pizza and go to the airport to sell those. In Cuba, that was illegal — you couldn't do anything that was private enterprise. So I got in trouble a few times with the police. "When I couldn't go to the airport, people started coming to my house!" Martinez says. "I used to go to the countryside in Cuba and buy pigs, because they were cheaper in the countryside. I would make my own ham and my own bread and buy cheese and stuf like that. It was mainly stuf I made by myself. All house-made." Martinez and his mother started a small, illegal restaurant in their living room. "Tourists started coming in," Martinez remembers. "Tat's when I knew it's what I wanted to do, to be a chef. Ten I got in trouble with the police again. And that's when I decided to come to the United States and follow my dream." Like many hopeful Cubans before him, Martinez built a raft using inner tubes, rope and wood, and it carried his mother, a few others and him Fernando Martinez (left) with wife/ partner Cristina and cousin/partner Yaniel Martinez.

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