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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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Allen Ampueda

Caiman Authentic Venezuelan Bakery & Restaurant

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.


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:

Simone Delerme

Simone Delerme

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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