Posted September 8th

When not dishing out Puerto Rican pot roast with yucca gnocchi, this Union Square restaurant owner supports Nibble culinary entrepreneurs, gets judge-y, and collaborates on all things arepa!

The Nibble Entrepreneurship Program (NEP) has tremendous support across our local culinary community. This week we pay homage to an especially supportive partner, Casa B chef and owner, Alberto Cabre. Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Alberto has been involved with the NEP program since its inception in January 2015, and has provided our aspiring entrepreneurs with key insights into running and owning a successful culinary business. As an immigrant himself, a talented chef, and a natural teacher—he also teaches architecture at the Wentworth Institute of Technology—we see Alberto as the ideal NEP mentor.


Alberto and Rachel digging in at our NEP product improvement workshop.

“It has been a pleasure to mentor the entrepreneurs of the program,” says Alberto. “It is clear to see the challenges and struggles that immigrant entrepreneurs have to go through without financial backing.”

This past May, Alberto led an informative NEP workshop about developing a product—addressing essential business questions to help identify demographics, competition, and price points. Two weeks later, Alberto was our key judge at a NEP tasting panel, offering his expertise to our entrepreneurs on how to improve upon their dishes in terms of flavors and presentation. Unlike Gordon Ramsey, Alberto not only offered good advice, he did so without traumatizing any of our students!

Alberto has worked especially closely with NEP cooks Carolina Garcia and Carolina Salinas (also known as “Carolicious”), helping inform their business model and their product: Venezuelan arepas. “He’s not only a good chef, he’s an excellent person,” says Carolina Garcia. “He works a lot with Latin flavors and always gives us tips on our business. The tasting session helped us improve our service and upgrade our arepas to the next level.”

In his latest support of NEP, Alberto will open up his restaurant to the Nibble program this Saturday to celebrate culinary diversity in Union Square—and International Arepa day! “Arepa day will be fun,” says Alberto. “We’ll have four arepa dishes: two meat and two vegetarian varieties. You can enjoy the arepas with Casa B cocktail and wine. We will also will have our selection of half-price tapas as part of Union Square Main Street’s 2nd Saturdays.”


Left: Alberto and Las Carolinas collaborating for upcoming arepa day. Right: Las Carolinas “Arepitas” served as last week’s Foodbiz101 business pitch competition

Two of the arepas on the menu this Saturday will be of the Venezuelan variety—gracias to the “Carolicious” guest chefs—the other two will be Colombian, whipped up by Alberto. In addition to upscale Puerto Rican street food with a twist, he also knows a thing or two about Colombian cuisine, thanks to his co-owner wife Angelina Jockovich, a native of Barranquilla, Colombia.

If you’re looking beyond arepas at Casa B, Alberto recommends the following: seven layer salad; Puerto Rican pot roast with yucca gnocci; and sesame-seared tuna with sweet plantain and wasabi aioli.

2016-05-24 18.19.33Mmmmm, que rico! We hope to see you all at the International Arepa Day blow out this Saturday at Casa B. Come early to ensure your spot at the Casa B Arepa table!

When: Saturday September 10th, 11am-3pm
Where: Casa B Restaurant, 253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA

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-Nick Schonberger