This interview with Rachel Angulo was conducted by Tulane student, Lauren Feuer as a part of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum’s New Orleans con Sabor Latino exhibit. This exhibit was the result of a joint effort by Tulane University, SoFaB, and community partners.
In Dr. Sarah Fouts’ interdisplinary seminar, Food, Migration, & Culture, Tulane students worked with Latino members of the New Orleans food industry to create a series of oral histories exploring the role of Latin culture in our city’s restaurant scene. With stories ranging from famous restauranteurs to line cooks, New Orleans con Sabor Latino demonstrates the diversity of experience within this community, as well as their vital contributions to the Big Easy.
|Read Full Oral History Text Below|
Local entrepreneur Rachel Angulo discusses the mobility offered by food trucks in this oral history and explains how she’s adapted her menu to consumer demand.
With her husband, Angulo owns La Cocinita, a chain of food trucks in New Orleans and Chicago. Inspired by Benoit Angulo’s roots in Caracas, La Cocinita specializes in Venezuelan dishes, like arepas, but has found mainstream success with Latin fusion like burri-tacos.
Rachel Angulo, Oral History Full Text
“My name is Rachel Angulo. My husband and I own La Cocinita food truck, which is, we serve Latin American cuisine. It’s Venezuelan inspired, so he is a chef from Venezuela and his name is Benoit Angulo.
‘La Cocinita’ means ‘the little kitchen.’ So ‘la cocina’ in Spanish is the ‘kitchen’ and when you add the ‘-ita’ at the end it makes it diminutive, which they do a lot in Venezuela, they, they add the ‘-ita.’ So since the food truck has quite a small kitchen, we decided to call it ‘La Cocinita.’
I would say our tacos are probably the most popular. The tacos and the, what we call the, burri-tacos which is sort of our, our answer to, you know, people’s request for burritos, but we didn’t have big enough tortillas until we started doing, you know, flour tortillas with melted cheese and rice and beans and meat and stuff and we call them, you know, burri-tacos, kind of like burrito-style tacos.I would say those are probably our most popular, although people that have our Venezuelan arepas definitely swear by those, and those have always been my favorite.
We chose to open a food truck because we liked the idea that we could, it was a mobile business and we could take our business to, you know, different festivals and, and you know farmer’s market’s and, you know, different wherever we could we could target different audiences throughout the city depending on you know, the day and the time frame, you know, what’s going on in different areas at different times. And we decided to serve Latin American cuisine ’cause you know Benoit was interested in representing the flavors that he grew up with, and once I tried Venezuelan food I was hooked.”
Special thanks to the Tulane University Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, and the Tulane University Center for Public Service for their assistance and support of this project.