Mr Goudas has built his empire around ethnic foods, but it was his determination to satisfy the needs of clients that first drove him to import the foods they crave. In order to market these, he even had to invent new techniques. For example, when Jamaican clients began to ask him for Ackees when he still ran a small delicatessen store, he not only imported the fruit, but found the right recipe for canning them.
Today, Greek, Jamaican and Latin American immigrants are able to enjoy national delicacies thanks to Mr Goudas’ commitment to providing immigrant Canadians with the foods they crave – and Canadians of every cultural background benefit from these additions to their menus.
It hasn’t all been plan sailing. Mr Goudas has had to confront the legal establishment, and has been pivotal in getting import laws changed to accommodate the foods that his clients wanted – and Mr Goudas himself has transformed himself into a culinary guinea pig. In his amusing book ‘Ackees’ Mr Goudas relates how he practically lived on Ackees while perfecting the recipe for processing them.
His ethnic soups proved a challenge too. Mr Goudas was determined to create truly authentic soups that would suit the tastes of the immigrants they were intended for, and not only tested them himself, but also asked immigrant families to try them out and comment on the flavour.
It wasn’t long before these exciting foods went mainstream, and today, Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro all stock ‘ethnic foods’ that were first introduced into Canada by Mr Goudas. Today, these form a flavourful part of our Canadian cuisine and are enjoyed by people from all cultural backgrounds.