“I grew up in Puerto Rico. More than 85 percent of food is imported there, a lot of what we eat is fried, and for the typical family, dinner always means white rice and beans and a big piece of meat. When I moved to Milwaukee after undergrad and became a chemical engineer making snack foods, I began noticing the food I was manufacturing was not the food I was eating or wanted my family to eat. So I quit my corporate job and started teaching at a predominantly Hispanic/Latinx high school about food systems and food justice, helping students connect with countries they might never travel to through food. I realized this was the world I wanted to be in, and these were the people I wanted to serve.
My ice cream company, @baravena_helados, is a way for me to put into practice the concepts I believe in. My business partner, Silvia Berciano, and I have developed a sustainably produced, vegan oat milk ice cream that’s nutritious and high in fiber. People associate ice cream with enjoyment, and our flavors, like Guava Lava and Turon, remind Hispanic people of their culture. I spent most of Christmas break making samples with my mom’s ice cream machine. I’m a hard critic, but she was super supportive. I hope to win the Tufts Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship Competition in April and have an oat-cream-making party with lots of ice cream machines. I believe that food is another way of experiencing the world, of being creative.” —Nayla Bezares, M.S. candidate and soon-to-be Ph.D. candidate at @TuftsNutrition
#OurTufts is a series of personal stories shared by members of the Tufts community.
Photo by Anna Miller / Tufts University