January 13 - 2017
Ines Santos-Perez is the owner of Just For You restaurant, on Broadway in Kingston. Leonides “Leo” Santos Agustin is the co-owner and chef. They welcomed me before opening the restaurant for today, so that I could include them in my Life In Ulster County photo series. Leo let me photograph him while he prepared a dish that is traditional in the Oaxaca area of Mexico, where he grew up, and that is the cuisine that they specialize in. Then he kindly served me the dish to eat, and we sat down and talked further, and soon after, Ines came in to sit down with Mexican hot chocolate and bread to dip it in.
Our conversation ranged from Ulster County, where Leo has been for about 20 years, to the differences between Americanized "Mexican Food" and authentic Mexican food. For example, Leo said that you don't find nachos where he is from!
We also talked a bit about the fact that Leo is currently facing deportation. He gained attention this week after speaking about his situation at a meeting at Kingston City Hall in which the Common Council declared Kingston a "Sanctuary City". After I heard about that I contacted the restaurant to see if they'd be interested in being part of this series.
I don't know what will happen to the business if he gets deported, so I was happy to meet them, have a conversation, and capture this slice of Ulster County while I could.