January 28, 2021

She owns the Café Restaurant Moll’s, which is part of the Carahue Navigable River Route located in the capital of the Choro Mussel, Nehuentúe, in the Region of La Araucanía in southern Chile. She has taken advantage of the magic of this location to give the best service to her clients-

 Born and raised in the town of Nehuentúe, which in Mapudungún means “place of resistence”, alongside the mouth of the Imperial River in the Region of La Araucanía in Chile, Blanca Fritz Chocano brought recognition to the land of her birth and set up a family restaurant despite the challenges.

Blanca is the granddaughter of colonists to the area and grew up the youngest of eight siblings. Since she didn’t know how to cook, she never imagined that years later she’d own the Café Restaurante Moll’s with specialty dishes such as Choro Mussels, a mollusk native to the zone and cultivated there. 

The Asian crisis hit Blanca’s family hard and left her husband Mario Lermanda without work. Her biggest concern was to finish educating her two children. While searching for what to do, they used Mario’s severance pay to enter the culinary world. They named it Café Restaurant Moll’s, which is her sister’s husband last name. The pair resides in Germany and supported Blanca in launching the business.

At first, she felt incapable. The uncertainty raised by starting a small business without being certain of any payoff was hard. She had never before worked in a service role and didn’t know how to run a restaurant.  Everyone in the family played a part. Her husband became the waiter and she took the reins of the kitchen, both of them inexperienced.

“My husband always attended to the customers as the waiter, setting tables and serving the meals. My children helped me out by doing any deep-frying when I started. They were great at frying and washing dishes,” recalls Blanca, laughing.

However, things changed. These days Blanca is one of the original businesses on the Carahue Navigable River Route with 21 years serving food at her café. “It was hard to get going because honestly it’s hard to get used to the idea of serving people, but I made it with my children and everyone’s effort. Here we are,” said Blanca.

 

Her mark

Blanca Fritz wanted to give her kids a good education and improve their economic situation, so she looked for a prosperous way forward. She wasn’t very certain of what she was doing.

 Living in the Nehuentúe, the capital of the Choro Mussel where they are cultivated and shipped throughout the domestic market, many tourists who come to Café Restaurant Moll’s come to try Blanca’s dishes. “People always want to try the steamed mussels, mussel empanadas and fried fish.” 

She also acknowledges that her motivation goes hand in hand with the love she feels for Nehuentúe.  “I’m happiest when telling customers about the beauty of my town where all of us have made every effort for people to feel welcome here in Carahue. My greatest gift is sharing my native land.” 

At 72 years of age and with more than 20 years of experience in Moll’s kitchen, her next dream is learning bakery. Decorating cakes and pastries is a not-so-distant goal of Blanca Fritz. “I’m very happy with my business. It was hard, but that’s what makes it worth it. When things are a challenge, you appreciate it and value it,” she said.