From Refugee to Neighbor: GRACE Stories.
Focus on Javier Gil, the Best Venezuelan restaurant in Cuenca 2023, according to the GringoPost community.
We want to honor the resilience of the Venezuelan refugees who became part of our community in Cuenca!
Javier Enrique Gil Infante, a 28-year-old Venezuelan, has overcome numerous difficulties and become a successful chef in Cuenca, Ecuador. He was born in Mérida, Venezuela, and he discovered his passion for cooking very young. However, Venezuela’s economic and political situation made his path to becoming a chef in his native country very difficult.
The turning point for Javier came at a young age. He decided to leave the place that had been his home for 22 years when the time came when he had no money even to buy a pair of shoes for his son.
He came to Ecuador in search of new opportunities. Upon arrival, he worked in different restaurants and strove to improve his culinary skills. But Javier did not settle. He always dreamed of opening his own restaurant and bringing Venezuelan gastronomy to the world.
Javier made his dream come true with much effort and support from his family and opened the restaurant “Full Criollo”. However, when everything seemed perfect, losing his father, who supported him from the beginning, was a hard blow that marked a before and after in his migration history.
However, Javier did not let this stop him and used his love for his family as an inspiration to continue. Today, Javier’s restaurant is one of the most popular in the city, and his food is well-known for its flavors—authentic Venezuelan gastronomy. In addition, he has created jobs and opportunities for other migrants and has helped many fellow Venezuelans who have come looking for a new life.
Finally, he invites people to his restaurant to see, hear, and feel the authentic Venezuelan, hard-working, and hard-working every day.
The story of Javier and his restaurant, Full Criollo, exemplifies how, despite the obstacles and difficulties, we can achieve our dreams and contribute positively to society with effort, perseverance, and passion.
Congratulations, Javier, on his success, and thank you for inspiring us with your story!
What was the best lesson you learned from emigrating?
“It was the realization that even though you are alone in an unknown country, everything is to believe in yourself to continue advancing to where you want to go.”
Gran Colombia 13-72 and Estevez de Toral, Cuenca.
+593 98 424 4928
Karla Sanchez Arismendi
Journalist and Director of the GRACE Foundation
Want to help?
Consider donating to GRACE today. Your tax-deductible donation will go a long way toward helping refugees in Ecuador make a new life for themselves and is integral to transforming a life-changing crisis into a process of self-transformation that benefits not only themselves but their families but also the communities. That they now call home.