Oscar Eduardo Vera de la Rosa came to Finland from Mexico in 2010. He started studying business administration at the University of Oulu. His intention was to return to Mexico, but he liked Finland so much that he quit his studies in Mexico and stayed in Oulu. He financed his studies by working in a restaurant and became interested in opening his own restaurant without any previous experience. Istanbul Oriental restaurateurs Bahri Karagümüs and Leena Haataja were a big help. Now Oscar Eduardo Vera de la Rosa is already running his second Mexican restaurant in Oulu.
The biggest challenge?
At first it was a bit difficult to fit in, but I have been really open to people, the culture, and the customs. I’m used to the fact that if someone is quiet and doesn’t answer, it doesn’t mean anything bad. Finnish equality caused confusion at first. When a female colleague was lifting a 60-liter beer tank at the bar, and I offered a helping hand, it was interesting to hear her say, “No need to help. This is my job.” I also liked the fact that when going on a date or out with friends, we could split the check.
Your favourite Mexican ingredient?
Chili, of course. There are about 64 commercial varieties of chili in Mexico. Each one has different flavor, texture, aroma, taste and spiciness.
The best thing at work?
I like management. When you are interested in leading, it is important to develop a team whose members like what they do and with whom you can discuss things openly. I want to create a team where there is a feeling that the group is capable of anything, and everyone has a passion for work.
The best feedback you’ve received?
The best feedback has come from our former employees, who have said that working in our restaurant brought joy to their lives and helped them through challenging times. It’s not all about me. I’ve had great restaurant managers who understand that sometimes young waiters and chefs struggle in life. It’s great to know that work wasn’t a burden but a positive experience.
I bring to the work community…
The power of a good example. I want to lead by example and there must also be joy, laughter, and a lot of talking at work.
What is the strangest Finnish food?
Nothing, because you have to be open to everything. I’ve tasted delicious salmon soup and mashed potatoes as well as homemade food made by a friend’s mother. Although the tastes may be different, good tastes can be found anywhere if you are willing to look for them.