At Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck, the staff shares more than a love for good food, they also share a passion. Assistant manager Jazmin Carillo started Programa Sueños, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve education for low-income children in her native Guatemala. Inspired by their friend’s dream, a few staff members traveled to San Antonio el Angel to visit Carillo’s tiny hometown.
Love Lane Kitchen assistant manager and photographer Dave Benthal, Love Lane Kitchen and Programa Sueños marketing director Jen Lew, and Programa Sueños founding board member Jacob Smith, were among those who made the trip. When the team arrived in Carillo’s childhood village, they were greeted by her large family and quickly presented with food. Family meals play a huge role in Guatemalan culture and Carillo’s grandparents didn’t waste any time. Fresh bread is a staple and is made almost daily in a large, wood-fired oven in an outdoor communal kitchen. The bread is made in large quantities for family and friends.
The group toured the village and enjoyed the Sunday mercado, complete with fresh produce, meat, fish and spices. The market is in the village of San Pedro la Laguna, neighbor to Lake Atitlán, underneath volcanoes. Butchers of the carniceria chop meat and poultry to order, fishermen sell the morning’s catch and farmers deliver pounds of freshly harvested beans.
The community trades and buys goods with one another, shares kitchens and resources and treats each other like family regardless of relation. To so quickly become a part of Carillo’s family and dream, the Love Lane Kitchen staff enjoyed a truly unique and humbling experience.
Love Lane Kitchen will host a benefit dinner in honor of Programa Sueños on Thursday, February 27.