AN Invercargill resident found a way close to his heart to deal with the economic hit of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thiago Sa has been living in New Zealand for 14 years and Southland has been his home since he moved from Brazil.
He worked as a chef at The Grille at Bill Richardson Transport World for three years.
After he completed his studies in tourism at the Southern Institute of Technology, he decided to take the next step in his career.
He quit his cooking job and accepted a position as a travel agent.
“I was so excited. It was a kind of dream to me working with tourism.”
However, as soon the Government announced the border restrictions and lockdown bans in March, Mr Sa lost his job.
“It was really hard. Everything was piling up – no job, needing to be at home because of the lockdown…”
But he decided to use the spare time at home as an opportunity and found the answer for his questions in a place close to his heart: his home country, Brazil.
He decided to start a business to bring some “authentic Brazilian street food” to the Invercargill community.
“I thought it was the perfect time to do that. Brazilians could fill a bit of their home sickness and Kiwis could learn more about our culture.”
His menu included Brazilian wontons (pastel) – a crispy fried pastry filled with different flavours, including beef mince, cheese and herbs and chorizo and cream cheese.
It also has one of the most popular Brazilian delights, cheese bread – a naturally gluten-free, baked fluffy cheese dough.
Orders could be made through his profile on social media.
“In the beginning I was selling only for Brazilians, but since I started to promote on social media and where I live, in Otatara, Kiwis started to have orders.