Allen Ampueda

Caiman Authentic Venezuelan Bakery & Restaurant
4509 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 38122
901-746-8666

Allen Ampueda was born on June 14, 1961 in Achaguas, Venezuela, and migrated to Wynne, Arkansas in 2004. In November of 2016, Ampueda and his sister opened Caiman, a restaurant and bakery serving authentic Venezuelan cuisine, on Memphis’ Summer Avenue. Everyone in his family works together to make the restaurant operate with his wife and sister serving as the primary cooks. Ampueda describes his childhood in Venezuela, the family’s career trajectory, Venezuela’s current political climate, and draws parallels between life in the US South and Venezuela.

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Allen Ampueda nació el 14 de junio de 1961 en Achaguas, Venezuela, y emigró a Wynne, Arkansas en 2004. En noviembre de 2016, Ampueda y su hermana inauguraron Caiman, un restaurante y panadería que sirve auténtica cocina venezolana en la avenida Summer de Memphis. Todos en su familia trabajan juntos para hacer que el restaurante funcione, con su esposa y su hermana sirviendo como las cocineras primarias. Ampueda describe su infancia en Venezuela, la trayectoria profesional de la familia, el clima político actual de Venezuela, y traza paralelos entre la vida en el sur en los Estados Unidos y Venezuela.

Date of interview:

July 22, 2017

Interviewer:

Simone Delerme

Photographer:

Simone Delerme


I never thought of residing in the United States, but because of the political issues in my country we had to leave our country. And my sister and her husband with his work are always moving when the government tells you. And at that time, when we came in 2004, my sister was living with her family in Wynne, Arkansas. And we got there and she hosted us in her house for two years. But when I was a year in Wynne and I saw people, they were like the people of my state. And I saw them greet us without knowing us. I saw the kindness of the Americans, simple people. And the environment in the South felt safe. Especially in Arkansas, that has kept us all this time, feeling good. In the schools for our younger relatives, our nephews, we thought that it was good. And then my son got a girlfriend from there, Arkansas, and then I said, "We're going to have to stay." Now, our grandchildren were born in Arkansas in the south and we were proud to belong to the southern community.
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