Nibble Business: Boukan’nen

Myrlande Michel

HER STORY

A bit about her

Myrlande (Mimie) was born in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. She lived there until she was five, when her family came to Somerville to find a better life and more opportunities. Mimie has three daughters and, when not at Nibble Kitchen, works as a mental health counselor and volunteers at a soup kitchen.

Her approach 

“Cooking is a family passion” says Mimie who learned how to cook from her mom. Mimie believes it’s her unique fusion of flavors from a variety of cultures that makes her food unique. For instance, although cilantro is not commonly used in Haitian cuisine, fusion-enthusiast Mimie uses it to give her cuisine a Latin flair. “I want to make connections between cultures,” she says. Mimie is especially interested in Afro-Haitian flavors and colors. She interprets African cuisine freely, not literally. “It’s the boldness and spice that evoke Africa for me,” she says.”

Kitchen favorites

Mimie says that a “caldero,” a deep steel pot with rounded sides and good heat distribution, is something integral to her cooking. She uses it to make Haitian stews and Riz au Djon Djon (black rice with beans). As for a favorite ingredient it would be her signature spice blend, which marries traditional Haitian ingredients like garlic, bonnet peppers, cloves, and thyme with “newcomers” like ginger and turmeric. “I like to bring flavors together,” she says, “because it’s a way to bring people together.”

Business dream

“My dream is to open my own restaurant where we can have people from multiple cultures feel welcome. Even if it’s really cold outside, I want people to come in and feel a Caribbean warmth. I know a lot about food, but Nibble is providing me with the knowledge of what it takes to run an actual business, to run a restaurant. Nibble Kitchen is a dream come true for me. I want to be an example for other people. I’m a domestic violence survivor. And I want to share with people that you can still make it—your dreams can come true.