“All cultures cook, [but] we look at different restaurant openings and who’s the face, and who’s actually cooking in the back and who gets to take the credit for it.”

Alicia talks to Casandra Rosario of Food Before Love, which focuses on education and dining experiences that make “a space for marginalized consumers to create and tell their own stories through food.” These events cover everything from how food cultures have been shaped by the African diaspora to classism in the vegan community. Together, they discuss Rosario’s panel discussion series Roots & Vines, why wine education is significant to her community, and supporting women-owned small business.

Written and presented by Alicia Kennedy
Produced by 
Sareen Patel


ALICIA KENNEDY: This is Meatless, a podcast about eating from How We Get To Next. I’m Alicia Kennedy, a food and drink writer. I’ll be having conversations with chefs, writers, and more about how their personal and political beliefs determine whether or not they eat meat. This show asks the question, “How do identity, culture, economics, and history affect a diet?”

In this episode, I talk to Casandra Rosario of Food Before Love, whose website and company focus on education and dining experiences. We talked about her Roots & Vines panel series, why wine education is significant to her community, and supporting women-owned small business.


ALICIA KENNEDY: So, hi, Casandra, thank you so much for being here.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah, thanks for having me.

ALICIA KENNEDY: I feel like I’ve seen you so much lately, through panels and at the James Beard House and, yeah, you just did this really amazing panel at Essex Street Market on African foodways in the diaspora. Do you, are you always out, out doing food stuff? How do you, how do you keep that schedule?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: I try to be. It’s really hard. I think, now, it just being the holiday season, there’s just a lot going on. Everybody’s trying to get out their events before the year’s over, kind of thing, and I’ve just been working on being more present at more food things, so I think that’s probably why we’ve run into each other a lot more than normal. So, yeah.

ALICIA KENNEDY: And how, how have these events been? What have you taken away from them recently?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Oh, wow. They’ve been pretty good. I’ve been loving the connections that I’ve been making, getting to meet people like you. I only heard about you, like, in meetings and on emails and just, kind of, putting a face to a name has been really exciting. The experiences have been all very different. I’ve been going to a lot of talks and, you know, I’ve been at the James Beard House a lot more this year than ever before. It was my first time going this year and I’ve been three times already, so it’s been refreshing. I feel like just, kind of, finding my tribe, finding my people, my food people, it’s been fun.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah, and do you, do you think the James Beard House is a welcoming space or do you think that it’s been attempting to be more welcoming to a wider variety of people?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: I was going to say, welcoming for who exactly?

ALICIA KENNEDY: Well, it has a reputation as, kind of a stuffy, very white, place. Do you feel like it isn’t necessarily that? Do you think that might be a misconception?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: I think, because I’m so excited to be there, I kind of let go of me being in observant mode. However, I do think it’s still a very white space. I don’t feel the stuffiness as much, because I, kind of, stick with my people when I’m there. It’s not as, there’s not a lot of opportunity, I think, to mingle with other guests. You, kind of, go there with who you’re with, kind of thing, so that’s a little tough, and I do find that I am one of the few black women that are there. You know, there might be five of us of color in the room at one time, so that’s a little disheartening, but yeah, I try to just let it go and remember that I’m here to connect with the food, here to support whatever chefs are there and I’ve really been trying to think about, “How can we make James Beard House more equitable for everyone?”


CASANDRA ROSARIO: Right? Definitely, after your dinner, you inspired me and I’m like, “I want to do that, I want to do what Alicia did, but how? And how can I get the people in the room that I want to be there as well? What does that look like?” So, it’s definitely raised some questions for me, as far as the work that I do, and how do we make this a safe space for everyone.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right. And for me, and I asked that question because, when I was planning that dinner, the Navidad Borinqueña dinner, I was concerned about what the audience might be there and how they would react to it, but it ended up being such an insanely, like, positive night.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: It was awesome.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah, and so I, I think that my own preconceived notions of who the Beard House audience is have been shifted and it has been a really great experience to meet you, to meet so many other people and, like, getting to sit with Clare and Colleen, shout-out to them. So, yeah, no, it is an interesting space. So, can you tell me, to kind of shift gears, about where you grew up and what you ate?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah. So, I grew up in East Harlem, that’s where I live currently, that’s where I’m from, and my family’s Puerto Rican, so both my parents are Puerto Rican. I want to say, by now, I’m second generation. Yeah, I’m second generation, but I was raised by my godmother, so she’s, she came from there to New York. Growing up, I ate a lot of arroz con gandules, so a lot of rice and pigeon peas, chuleta, malta is a staple in my house, tostones, platanos, pastelón. I still eat a lot of those things all the time, so, I’m trying to think what else, so, yeah, a lot of white rice and kidney beans, pernil for sure, pegao or concón or sticky rice, I guess, you would say.

ALICIA KENNEDY: I remember you mentioned pumpkin and beans at the panel.


ALICIA KENNEDY: Can you tell me more about that dish?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah. So, it was interesting, because I was thinking about doing a pumpkin picking event or, like, just a little trip upstate, and we were talking about, “Well, how can we use these pumpkins afterwards?” It’s like, you get a bunch of pumpkins and now what do you do? I don’t have kids, so who’s going to be, like, carving these out? And we were talking amongst ourselves about how we can utilize the pumpkins and I was like, “Well, at my house, I cook with pumpkins in my beans.” It’s pretty normal and, like, a thing, but some people were surprised that I do that and I was kind of surprised, like, “You guys have not eaten pumpkin?” It was, kind of, odd to me. So, yeah, it’s been a staple in my house for a while, just, like, cooking with some chunks of pumpkin and putting it in your beans and just eating that together.

ALICIA KENNEDY: How do you season that?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Well, in the beans itself, some sofrito, some tomato paste, the regular seasoning, some garlic, some onions, basil leaf. I just cook it as if, like, I’m cooking the beans itself, yeah.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right, right, right, yeah. No, I went on a press trip once to Puerto Rico and, like, I was with a very strange crew of people, a lot from the middle of the country.


ALICIA KENNEDY: And they were so confused about pumpkin in Puerto Rican cuisine. They were just like, “What, pumpkin?” and just had no sense of it. And then also, I also remember one woman just being like, “So, pumpkin, like squash?” and it’s like, “Pumpkin is a squash.” Anyway, that’s my pumpkin thing. But yeah, I know, I think people are surprised and, also, we had pumpkin at the dinner that we did. So, Food Before Love is your brand, your company. Can you tell me how it began and what you do?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: OK. How did it all begin? I went to school to study hospitality and service management, upstate at RIT and I thought that I was going to own a restaurant. But hospitality really interested me, because I had a lot of interests at the time, and I felt that restaurants were a world where I could do everything I wanted to do, interior design, events, customer service, food, etc., and I really started to take it seriously and I pursued that. And when I left there, I was doing events for a caterer in the Bronx, and doing that kind of opened my mind to the possibilities of hospitality. I realized that I didn’t have to own and run a restaurant for the rest of my life in order to be successful in this business and events really, kind of, piqued my interest, and I was like, “Oh, I’m doing events, I’m doing food, this is awesome, I love this.” But I ended up leaving there to work at JP Morgan on a project, what was supposed to be a short-term project, and I had plans to go into meeting planning. I was like, “Oh, I could get some meeting planning experience and, kind of, get back to what I was doing.” But maybe about seven months in, I was like, “What am I doing here?” Because the project was just extended, like, by, like, three or four months and I, kind of, felt like I was wasting time and I starting thinking about, “What am I doing with my degree? Why am I not doing food in any way?” And originally, I wanted to have my own show.

So, we had a couple, like, food lovers amongst my co-workers and stuff and we were talking about putting on this show, this little, like, food show where we go to restaurants and maybe it’s, like, half reality, half scripted, but at the time, it felt really unattainable. It felt like, “OK, I’m biting off more than I can chew, I don’t have any TV contacts, what else could I do?” And I was going out to eat a lot at that time and I had a bunch of pictures in my phone and people were always asking me where I was going out to eat, so I was like, “I’m going to write, I’m going to write about this.” And I started sharing a couple of reviews of places that I went to, so that when people asked me, they had a resource that they could go to of where I was eating and what was good. So, that’s kind of where it began, but after about two months, people were really reading it and I was like, “Oh, shit, people are reading what I have to say. Cool, I should make this a thing.” So, went and got my domain for Food Before Love and got my logo and everything and at the time, when I was coming up with the name, I was trying to figure out, “What is something that people can relate to, but also something that I can relate to?” And I had so many names, a thousand names, like, “What’s going to work?” But the name itself came because I really wanted to put food first, and I wanted to put myself first and my love for food.

And at that time, I felt like people were trying to push me in other directions professionally and I was, kind of, like, “Well, this is what I want to do.” And so, for me, it was about prioritizing that and that’s why it’s Food Before Love, but love is never out of the equation. However, I’m not the nicest person when I’m hungry, and I felt like that was something that other people could relate to as well, and food is really a lifestyle for so many of us, so that’s, kind of, where Food Before Lovecame about and where it grew from there.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Awesome. So, you are doing events, like Roots & Vines at the Essex Street Market. Was that the first one you’ve done?


ALICIA KENNEDY: OK, amazing, so then I can go to all of them. But yeah, you were exploring foodways and, you know, starting wine education. What inspired this series? And also, how are, looking at how African foodways are reflected in the diaspora, how does that connect to wine for you? So, a two-part question.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: OK. Oh, man, I’ve been trying to do this event for two years, so I was really excited to, like, finally put it on and, like, really kick off Roots & Vines. But it, kind of, came from just having normal conversations amongst my food community about things that bothered us, things that we talk about lightly on social media, but we don’t really have a place where we can go and talk about it outside of that, in person. And while I love what social media has done for food and where we are today, I think people just crave that human interaction. I’m also tired of going to panels where I feel like people are talking at me instead of making me a part of the conversation, so I really wanted to be more communal and that’s something I’m going to work on for the future events, like, making it more of a communal conversation, because people have so much to say. You saw at the event, like, even the feedback, like we started getting into discourse. That’s what I want. So, yeah, this is one of the topics that always comes up and I think, now, as identity is such a popular thing, we don’t talk about how it’s reflected in food. You know, we talk about skin color, we talk about traditions, but are we talking about how food transcends time, and how we are connected to each other in that way? Which is why I was inspired to talk about that.

And I just think that Africa just shows up in so many foods every day, and we need to give more credit to it and I think, as I work on just learning my heritage and learning who I come from, it’s something that I wanted to unpack as well, amongst others.

Now, with the wine piece of it, we did a trip to Hudson Valley and we went grape stomping, we did a wine tasting and wine has just been something we’ve been talking more about lately. And I’ve been to a couple of panels where they were talking about wine and they tried to talk about the diversity piece of it, but no one was bringing up, if they did touch on it, no one was bringing up the education piece. So, I’m like, “You want to reach more black and brown bodies, but the lack of education is there because there’s no platform for that if you’re not seeking it out yourself, and sometimes you have to give people it so that they know what they actually need.” And that’s why the wine piece was so important for me, because, I mean I know people that drink wine all the time and, you know, if you have a favorite, that’s probably the one that you drink all the time and there are so many more of them out there that I want to talk about, I want to learn about, I want to experience. So, I’d love for the event to just talk about something that’s rooted in us culturally, in tradition, and then also add the wine education piece.

And I also, you know, we talked about, at the event, how everything’s very Eurocentric, but African wines exist as well, you know? There are even immigrant-owned wineries, you know, across the coast that don’t get the attention that they deserve, you know, they don’t get the, they’re not getting what they need right now and we should be talking more about them, so I want to start connecting those dots as well.

ALICIA KENNEDY: That’s great, yeah, and Mexican wine too is, kind of, having a moment that people should explore more. I also noted, on your panel, that you brought together a lot of women who have started their own businesses, and so have you and, like, carved out their own space in food and in food media, and do you see that as significant? Like, you, I love this, because I love some DIY shit, but it’s like, you know, carving out space and, like, not depending on gatekeepers to give you the credentials or give you the, to say, “OK, yeah, you’re OK, we’ll let you in, you’re OK to be on a panel or, you know, to speak or to write for our publication, etc., etc.” So, do you see that as significant and why did you choose those women specifically for that panel?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Well, I chose them because I felt like they were all very different and that was very big for me and I think you could see that, just listening to them speak and just their very different experiences. I just wanted to add that to the event, and I think, a lot of the time, some of the gatekeepers, even if they’re people of color, not to say that they have the same story, but the trajectory of their careers might be a little similar and with these women, it’s not in the least.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Can you give a little background on each of them?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah. So, Vonnie Williams, she actually was formerly a part of this group called the Black Forks and she’s now doing her own thing at Sincerely Vonnie, but I loved that she was Ghanaian and we were talking about Africa, had been to Ghana earlier this year, so I just wanted her to add that personal touch, just growing up and, you know, what she could add. So, she’s also a food writer, she’s an incredible writer as well.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right, I think she got her first Food & Wine byline yesterday.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah, she was just featured on Food & Wine today and she just talks about food and culture in a way that I love and respect and I really thought she’d be a great addition to the event. She also has curated events for us, by us, and I love what she’s doing in the food world. Like, she creates a space for people to feel comfortable, for people to experience, and it’s very in line with what we do at Food Before Love, so I felt like she’d be a great fit. And then just talking about food media, in a way, you know, just talking about how we’re portrayed in food media, I wanted her to add that as well.

Then Cha McCoy, she’s a sommelier, she’s also an event curator, she does The Communion and at her event, she really demystifies wine, like, it’s insane. I went to her event on Sunday and the things that I learned about wine that I didn’t know before, I’m like, “OK, cool,” but it feels accessible, it doesn’t feel overwhelming and she just makes it feel easy. But she’s also someone that’s very fun and she’s experienced the world, you know, she’s very well traveled and just her growing up experiences were very different. She talked about eating snails as a kid. I didn’t, I haven’t even eaten snails yet, you know, and it’s funny, because I get a lot of questions about, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?” and stuff like that. So, that was really fun, to see that, and I see myself in each of these women as well. So, being able to do that was really important for me, because then I feel like there’s someone in the audience that can relate to some, like, if not all.

Then Ysanet with Woke Foods, one thing that she mentioned on the panel that I love is she talked about how she doesn’t really believe in being vegan, but she believes in being plant-based and what that looks like and she really, kind of, changed my perspective on what that actually means. And, as a Latina, I just love that she’s Dominican and she was able to speak to, kind of, some of our Latin cultural traditions that she plans on, you know, to keep going, and just her being such an advocate for agriculture and farmers and just people that are the consumers that we speak to, I felt was really important.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Absolutely. And yeah, why that topic for your first panel?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: I mean, you’ve got to come out the gate with it, right? I really wanted to set the tone for what these panels are going to look like and what we’re actually going to talk about. And I think that, right now, in food media, no one wants to ruffle feathers. You know? Amongst food writers, you know, we talk about pitching stories and pitching stories that matter, but I question if these publications actually want them, you know?


CASANDRA ROSARIO: And who are they willing to, kind of, quote unquote “put out” online for these stories. So, you know, these conversations can be a little uncomfortable and I feel like we haven’t even gotten to the nitty-gritty of the uncomfortable piece yet, but we have to be ready to go there. So, that’s why I wanted to talk about African foodways and, again, talk about how we’re so much more alike than we are different, and I’d really love if the events are more of, like, a debate as well, because, again with the comments section, we have these debates in the comments section and it’s like, “Where can we have them out loud? And here can it be a learning moment for those that know and those that don’t?’

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right, right, right. Even in the audience afterwards, where usually I personally am afraid of a Q&A section, because I’m like, “Who’s going to say something weird? Who’s going to, ugh, just make everyone upset?” but it was, like, very communal in that moment, people were, like, wanting to learn. They were like, “What are the good podcasts to listen to?” and, “My restaurant is over here and it’s such a struggle, but it’s so important that we put our food out there,” and that sort of thing. And so it was like you really did bring together a group of people, somehow, that, I don’t know, cared and weren’t there for themselves, but, like, there for a community. And what is the next one going to be? Because it’s very relevant to my podcast, I believe.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah. So, we don’t have a date yet, working on it, but the next one, we’re going to talk about just how classism creeps into being vegan and what that looks like. And what really sparked that for me was just someone was ranting on Twitter about how being vegan is not as easy as it looks, but then I have other conversations where people say it is easy, we just don’t have, again, the education around how to make it work for you. So, I think that’s very interesting, and just, my editor and I always talk about the disparity of access to food in our neighborhoods, right, between the grocery stores being moved out and something new being pushed in or just a more expensive grocery store replacing the old one. And it’s like, “How can I live this lifestyle without the access?” I mean, you just look at fast food and how a burger can be $3, but the salad is $12, and that’s by design, you know, that’s there for a reason, so let’s unpack that, like, let’s talk about it. And let’s talk about how do we combat that now and who are, who are our gatekeepers, you know, on a lower level? Not who you see on TV or who you might not even know about, but who do you know in your community that can help you get to that space if that’s what you’re trying to work on? Even like, just, like, your local gardens, you know, and what’s being grown there and how do you have access to that?

And then with the wine, just vegan wines in general, a lot of people don’t know that vegan wines exist and they’re like, “What is that? What is vegan wine?” You know, and I don’t know too much about vegan wine, but I know things like fish oil and just different chemicals that are in most of the wines that we drink, so just having access to vegan wines, how do you ask for that at your local wine store, and kosher wines as well. So, those things, they’re out there, so we should talk about them, we should experience them and see if it’s something that we like. And I think wines are a lot different than food in the sense that, like, people think about recreating dishes and stuff like that and it’s like, for me, the wine tastes the same, like, vegan wines taste the same, it’s a little more, I think you can adapt a little easier to the wines. So, yeah, I just want to have more conversations around that.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah, yeah. No, vegan wine is interesting, because, yeah, I think it’s usually cheaper wines that are not vegan, because they’ve been fined with, filtered through either egg white or the fish bladder, that sort of thing. And yeah, it’s an interesting discussion. And like natural wine, now, is such a huge thing and they’re all vegan, pretty much, so that’s, I hope there are natural wines. But yeah, I remember you telling me that you consider yourself a flexitarian. I did see on Instagram today that you are trying to switch to oat milk.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Oh, it’s happened already. It’s pretty much happened, because in the mornings, at least for the past six months, I make a smoothie for breakfast and I’ve been drinking it with almond milk and then it’s been really tough just going back to whole milk. I had a sinus infection and, like, whole milk my body was rejecting, so I thought maybe it was because I was sick and now I can’t drink it at all.

ALICIA KENNEDY: You know, I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m also happy to hear that.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: I don’t miss it. I love almond milk and I’ve really been loving oat milk. I haven’t bought it at home, but when I’m like out at a cafe, oat milk is, like, my thing.

ALICIA KENNEDY: What is it that you like about it?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: It just tastes really good and, like I said, I don’t miss whole milk at all. I just feel better, and it’s lighter, it’s been going well with everything I’ve been mixing it with, so I’ve been enjoying it.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, what does flexitarianism look like in your daily life?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: What does it look like? I’ve been trying to eat a lot better this year, so I’ve been, like, identifying as flexitarian a lot more lately than not, because I feel like my mind and my palate has been opening up to so many more options that I’m like, “Oh, this is really cool, like, I like other things.” But also, when I was sick, I couldn’t eat red meat, so I’ve been, like, not eating red meat, like, barely at all this year. So, in my daily life, I eat a lot of quinoa, I eat a lot of salads, I’m still eating a lot of rice and beans at home, I’ve been eating a lot of fish lately, and that’s pretty much it. I’ve been going out to some vegetarian restaurants a lot more than not. The last best place I went to was Nix.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Oh, yeah, I do like Nix.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: And, like, since then, I just feel, like, so pleased with life. Like, the food was so incredibly good and I normally don’t go to a vegetarian restaurant on purpose and now I only want to go there.

ALICIA KENNEDY: I mean, yeah, they do an incredible job there.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: They do, so now I’m like, “OK, how can I recreate this at home? What else can I get?” And even at the James Beard House, like, we had this amazing carrot.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right, the veg, pastrami-spiced carrot, yeah.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: So, it’s like, “How can I do this at home?’

ALICIA KENNEDY: I mean, that, I think that that carrot takes, like, two days or something, someone said.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: That carrot was incredible.


CASANDRA ROSARIO: So, I just feel like I’m opening up to more options and, like I said, with Ysanet talking about being more plant-based than being vegan and what that looks like, I’m like, “OK, I want to know, what does that mean for me?’

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right. No, I think plant-based, for some reason, is the word or phrase that people need to make a leap that doesn’t feel cumbersome. It like, so many people say that, that when they hear plant-based, they think, “OK, I can do that,” when they hear vegan, they immediately think of all the worst stereotypes in their minds. But, and it’s rice and beans, that’s what everyone brings up. Whenever I talk to people about class and veganism or vegetarianism, everyone is like, “Well, every culture in the world cooks rice and cooks beans and it’s not expensive to do that.”

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah, some plantains and you’re good.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah, you’re good. And so, I’m really excited for whatever you put together around this issue, because it does need to be demystified. Because, and I see people talk about it so much online, just like memes or whatever, like, these vegans that I don’t know, I don’t know the vegans who think that, you know, being vegan is so easy, or like, I don’t know, just the way people talk about veganism is so strange to me.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Well, I also think being vegan became a trend at one point.

ALICIA KENNEDY: At one point, yeah, yeah, yeah.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: You know, everyone in Brooklyn was vegan and then it became this thing.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Then, all of a sudden, everyone was into bacon.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: That too. I mean, I think we need to talk more too about how restaurants play a role in this as well, because you look, there are just so many limited options, it makes me sick. And it’s like there’s just one vegetarian option, you know, and god forbid they make it vegan at the restaurant. So, that as well and how the restaurants play a role, because if it’s only a vegan restaurant, you know, fine, but if it’s not, you know, how do they help everyone eat? How do they help everyone enjoy the experience? So, I think that’s been a challenge for people as well, because it’s like, “OK, I go out to eat a lot, but there’s nothing there when I go.” There’s, like, this one dish and you’re stuck to that one item and everyone else has eight things to choose from. It’s just not fair.

ALICIA KENNEDY: No, it’s not. So, to you, is cooking a political act?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: I think cooking can be a political act, absolutely. And, again, just back to visibility, right, because everyone cooks, you know, and all cultures cook, and now we talk about, we look at appropriation of different cultures and we look at different restaurant openings and who’s on the, who’s the face and who’s actually cooking in the back and who gets to take the credit for it. I do think that those things do become political and I do think what we eat at home as well, you know, and what we’re able to have access to in our homes and what we don’t.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Right. And do you, do you keep this in mind when you buy food or when you cook? How does, how do you, kind of, enact your beliefs when you’re eating, either out or at home?

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah, I do keep it in mind, I think. Earlier this year, I was living in Atlanta for a little bit and that was really hard grocery shopping, because they have, like, an ethnic aisle. Like, it literally says, like, “ethnic foods,” “ethnic aisle,” in most supermarkets, so that was a little tough for me. Like if you don’t go to certain neighborhoods, you can’t find it, versus I live in East Harlem, so I have access to all the stuff that I want. I think just, you know, approaching managers and approaching, you know, the powers that be to make more requests for what’s accessible, because even in Atlanta, a lot of their ethnic foods were, like, Mexican foods or Mexican known brands and I wanted some Goya brand and I couldn’t access it, so I would have to make a request, you know, and I don’t know if making those requests, obviously they won’t change overnight, but just showcasing that need for, like, “I am here, I live in these neighborhoods and I want to feel represented through the food,” is really important to me, especially if you want to feel connected to back home and you can’t.

ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah. Thank you so much, Casandra, for being here.

CASANDRA ROSARIO: Yeah, thank you for having me.