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    Bold La China, not the pine

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    Atrevida La China, no el pino

    She is more daring than the pine tree that grew isolated and 11 years ago gave rise to the name of her bar-restaurant, recognized among gastronomy in Ciego de Ávila, especially by customers who appreciate good Creole food.

    Boldness and curiosity have distinguished her since childhood when, a little prompted by gluttony —she confesses while discovering a smile— she discovered the secrets of the culinary arts, while tasting and observing her grandmother's preparations.

    That was her only school. Courses or certificates do not back the performance of Idilexy Morales Fajardo ―that is what her father only calls her when she is upset, because everyone knows her from La China―. Her talent is natural and she feels accomplished because she works with love, the main ingredient and key to success.

    Foto 2 Pequeña empresa Pino Atrevido 7

    Although she has stayed away from the academies, the desire to excel always accompanies her. She does not stop seeking the timely advice of her colleagues from the Cuban Culinary Association, she investigates and reads. In addition, participation in events gives you knowledge and allows you to reap awards.

    She has no training in gastronomic services or management; however, she successfully manages the ranch-restaurant "El Pino Atrevido", recently constituted as a small company ―in the heat of the development of new forms of economic management in the country― and with pretensions to expand towards other places in the province.

    When starting her business in 2010, there was no lack of criticism for its location in a remote place in the city of Morón, however, she and her husband took on the challenge of developing there, without experience in the activity and with little capital, but fueled by the desire to succeed.

    Atrevida La China, no el pino

    The first year was very hard because I did not have experience in controlling a restaurant kitchen or knowledge of economics that would allow me to plan resources, satisfy customers and make profits, therefore, it involved a great effort, added to that of my obligations as a wife and mother of two children.

    She suffered severe stress, due to work overload and limited rest time (barely two or three hours a day), which triggered fibromyalgia, successfully treated in hospitals in the capital, which prevented greater evils.

    The continuous progress allowed her to incorporate more workers, improve working conditions and expand her restaurant to 72 capacities. In that space, she learned to be a boss, a friend, and to form a team (currently with 18 workers) that stands out for its stability.

    In an environment that combines urban and rural elements, traditional Cuban food and recreations of international cuisine dishes are bet, with aromas and flavors achieved through natural condiments, mostly grown in a small garden that allows you to venture into agricultural work to release the peasant within.

    Atrevida La China, no el pino

    Some people do not understand her, but she has never been able to let go and lives proud of her peasant roots, it is what identifies her and "I can put on a sequined dress and a couple of taunts, put on makeup and look very refined, but nothing takes away my smell and taste of the countryside”, from his native Ranchuelo, in the municipality of Chambas.

    In her dreams she contemplates a house with a patio to grow some crops, but, above all, she experiences the feeling of waking up, feeding the animals (at least a few chickens) and then taking a bath, dressing and putting on makeup to go out to the restaurant. "And I'm going to achieve it," he says and I refuse to doubt.

    Atrevida La China, no el pino

    When Hurricane Irma passed, he thought he would lose everything, but the damage to his establishment was minimal. One day was enough to organize and restart the service, even in adverse conditions because it took about 15 days until the electrical service was restored.

    By candlelight and managing ice to preserve cold food, they resumed the service, thus ensuring the availability of food prepared in difficult circumstances for cooking due to the lack of electricity. In Morón, it was the only private restaurant that provided services in those days.

    El Pino Atrevido has also maintained its operation during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, even in the months of greatest tensions for the municipality of Morón, managing to adapt its services to health provisions: reduction of capacities, home services and offers to take away, depending on the moment.

    Atrevida La China, no el pino

    The epidemiological complexities have been an opportunity to demonstrate commitment and social obligations, in particular for China to exude the sensitivity, humanism and solidarity that characterize it, by donating raw and processed food to quarantined areas.

    She endorsed the concern of that father who had his son in the Horticultural Plan, the first quarantined community in the municipality of Morón, and took charge of coordinating with the local government to offer help. She ensured the daily shipment of broths, soups or other preparations to reinforce the diet of these settlers.

    Later, it contributed to other quarantined areas in central areas of the city and donated to the homes for the Elderly and Maternal, the Center for Psycho-pedagogical Care and institutions for the isolation of suspected and positive patients for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

    Her effort seemed little to her, so she joined the Morón Faculty of Medical Sciences (isolation center) to serve as a cook, an experience that she qualifies as gratifying and at the same time sad because she made an effort, however, some patients could not consume the food due to in appetence.

    Sometimes he came home and prepared other foods to take them to stimulate them, other times he brought ingredients to vary the preparations, without caring that it implied additional expenses for the restaurant. But the effort was worth it because from the moment I entered I felt the recognition of everyone, even the security agent.

    For its successes since “El Pino Atrevido” and its performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, La China received, on April 2, the Culinary Friendship Medal, conferred by the Culinary Federation of the Republic of Cuba and delivered for the first time in the province of Ciego de Ávila to a non-state institution.

    Always attentive to the satisfaction of her clients and trying to achieve a perfect balance between quantity, quality and prices, the owner of the small business "where daring always tastes good" - as her slogan states - is immersed in the establishment of contracts with entities importers to guarantee supplies.

    She prefers not to talk about the multiple "stumbles" during her time as a self-employed worker and looks to the future, hoping that the new legal personality will increase the possibilities of productive linkages and exchanges of goods and services with state entities and not state.

    Among the advantages of becoming a small executive, she recognizes that of being able to expand her corporate purpose by having approved cafeteria, recreation and wholesale sales services, from which she plans to expand and explore opportunities in the territory of Morón and the city of Ciego de Ávila. 

    Atrevida La China, no el pino

    It awaits the reestablishment of the excursions from the Jardines del Rey tourist destination to resume its contracts with the travel agencies Gaviota Tours and Cubatur, with whom it has had ties for more than seven years, through which clients from Canada, Russia and Poland have visited your establishment.

    La China wants to take advantage of the opportunities, the desire to work and the impetus of her husband and daughter, partners in the small business and willing to contribute so that the business prospers alongside that pine tree that stands defiantly at the entrance of the ranchón, as a symbol of will and resistance.

    Atrevida La China, no el pino