Jennifer Alvarado was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She came to the US at six months of age. Her parents inspired her passion for food, so she became a chef by trade, and the co-owner of Joshua’s Catering, a Hispanic, Black, Veteran, and LGBTQ-owned company. They are the exclusive caterer/partner to venues in Philadelphia, such as Bolero Events, Ridgeland Mansion, and Strawberry Mansion. She has been in the industry for over 20 years.
What makes the Philadelphia Latino community unique?
Our culture and people make the Philadelphia Latino Community unique. Latinos represent accountability, where responsibility is shared. Our people dominate everything we touch. We represent diversity through our food, work ethic, and languages. We are helping to fuel the economy through entrepreneurship and families in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, working toward a better future.
What more do you think could be done to support the Latino community in Philadelphia?
It is challenging for any business to have a successful starting point, but being a female Latina presents even more hurdles. In Philadelphia, better access to more educational portals would be beneficial. Many Latinos continue to struggle with citizenship relations, so it is important to offer more resources to those who are seeking employment and work. Of course, publishing articles like this and embracing and valuing the Latino community is a crucial form of support.
If you were taking someone on a tour of your neighborhood, what would be your first stop?
I would take someone to the Fishtown/Kensington area by East York Street to Bolero Events, a new venue we are partnering with. The building, the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, was one of the first banks to serve blue collar workers. Located in the heart of the Latino community, the Latino-owned businesses surrounding the venue are numerous and diverse. This neighborhood holds the stories of families, work, and achievements gained throughout the years of Latino immigration.
Do you have any local Latino heroes you look up to?
My Accelerate Latinx Cohort peers are local heroes to me. The program offered small business owners education resources to apply to our existing businesses. Another is Bethzaida Butler, manager of Norris Square Senior Center, and my mother-in-law. She has dedicated over 20 years to the seniors of the Latino community by offering programs for education, health awareness, and daily activities. Lastly, my children are my heroes. Latino children are the future leaders of our community.