I grew up in New Bedford, MA which is predominantly Portuguese. My paternal grandparents lived in the same house with us (my grandmother was Portuguese and my grandfather was Italian) and my grandmother loved to cook. She not only cooked exceptional Portuguese food, she mastered Italian cuisine as well. My mom was also a great cook; she made the traditional American dishes but also learned to make our favorite Portuguese and Italian meals. Most of my neighborhood friends were Portuguese and their dads were fishermen so there was always something delicious cooking somewhere and I loved it. As a child I would try anything and almost always liked it; from steamed periwinkles to raw clams to stewed squid. I don't think I realized how much of an impact all of these people and food had on my life until I decided to make a dramatic career change at 40.
I was never career oriented. I grew up in the 70's watching Mary Tyler Moore so really all I wanted was a little apartment and a job that would pay for it. I ultimately moved to Boston and went to college and then to graduate school (only to kill time because I had no clue what to do with my life). I waitressed and bartended full time and took my time with school and was actually very happy but felt, approaching thirty, it was time to stop goofing around and get a real job. I fell into the human resources field and somehow landed a management position making a high salary with great benefits. I finally had my Mary Tyler Moore life. I stuck with it for ten years but knew that it was not what I wanted to do for the next thirty. I did a little research on making career changes in your 30's and 40's and the predominant theme was always finding out what you're passionate about and work in that field (sounds cliche but turns out it's true). After several months of soul searching and self introspection I realized that nothing makes me happier than good food and somehow, some way I had to parlay that into a career. I really had no idea how I was going to do this. I thought maybe I could open a little cafe or sandwich shop, something manageable. I was living in the North End when I learned that the little produce market in my neighborhood was going to close. I mentioned to my friend that someone really should open up a fish market as there wasn't one in the neighborhood and she responded, "why don't you?"; a year later our little fish market was open for business and that friend is my business partner. I work more hours and make less money and I couldn't be happier!
What's a dream that you hope to achieve in the near future?
I would love to expand our business to include catering and go from there.
Do you have a favorite place or neighborhood that inspires you?
I always knew that no matter what I did it would be in the North End; I love the unique small neighborhood feel and the availability of so much spectacular food!
Which personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
Making the decision to change my life in order to be happy and fulfilled.