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Bakersfield restaurant owner embraces Hispanic roots

Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 21:18:05-04

Hispanic Latino Heritage Month started Tuesday. As a nation, we celebrate the contributions and influences of Hispanic and Latin Americans throughout history. 23ABC is highlighting Kern County's Hispanic and Latino community members who have made a difference.

23ABC's Bayne Froney introduces one Kern County Entrepreneur who said he owes his success to his roots and his culture.

Alejandro Ocampo is not only the co-founder of Camino Real Kitchen and Tequila but also two other Kern County favorites like Vida Vegan and Bakersfield Pizza Company. He told 23ABC it's his family's culture along with his California roots that are the inspirations for his restaurants and their menus.

"It's an opportunity to showcase what local businesses and beyond bring forth being American and Hispanic heritage, and having the opportunity to display what we have been able to accomplish through hard work that our parents did to give us this opportunity."

Ocampo and his family started in the restaurant business 12 years ago.

"There's eight of us, and so having the opportunity to do something as a family was really unique."

For Ocampo, growing up in the Hispanic community in Kern County gave him an appreciation for all of the hard work done by his parents.

"At the time growing up I thought it was normal, but you know not seeing our parents because they were constantly working and never seeing both my parents together. Either my mom was working or my dad was working. But looking back and you reflect on the hard work that they did and their commitment and their dedication to providing for us gave us the opportunity to be here."

Ocampo's mother and grandmother's traditional cooking gave him and his family inspiration for a lot of menu items at their restaurants.

"We really just immersed ourselves in our upbringing and what my mom would cook. I think it's important to acknowledge the fact that we are born and raised in this beautiful country, in the United States of America, but we have this culture that our parents gave us, the Mexican culture."

For Ocampo, this month is all about embracing his culture

"I think it's being able to open and just embrace our identity, and our identity means American and Mexican, and so we get the best of both worlds."

And appreciating how far his family has come through generations.

"What I do now doesn't even compare to the hard work that my mom and dad did, so I think it's important to acknowledge their hard work, the ones that came before us, to establish themselves here and provide us this opportunity."

Ocampo said that without his staff, family, and culture, none of this would have been possible.

If you have a story that celebrates the Hispanic Latino community email 23ABC at kero.news@kero.com or leave a comment on our Facebook page.