CLEVELAND — For the past four months, Chef Carasai Ihentuge has served Cleveland cuisine that reflects his heart and heritage.
What do you want to know
- A new initiative launched by Destination Cleveland allows Cleveland residents to travel the world with their taste buds
- Restaurants serving Asian, Italian, German, African and other dishes can be found on The International Restaurant Passport
- The International Restaurant Passport is a new way to showcase and support the local hospitality industry
- Each restaurant included offers passport users a special offer
Ihentuge’s restaurant, YumVillage, is on the campus of Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland.
“This is the first black-owned business on the Cleveland State campus. So it’s a big deal for me and for the community,” Ihentuge said.
YumVillage proudly serves Nigerian and West African cuisine.
“I actually started cooking a very long time ago, just at home with my mom, dad and brothers,” he said. “So it comes from a long past.”
Ihentuge said that since opening, customers have embraced it and its food, and recently came into the spotlight with the help of a new initiative created by Destination Cleveland, the International Restaurant Passport.
Destination Cleveland launched it to encourage businesses to select restaurants in Cleveland.
“Once you go to thisiscleveland.com/passport, you can register for the International Restaurant Passport. And, once you’re here, you’ll see the 17 different restaurants that are included,” said Jen Brasdovich, public relations manager for Destination Cleveland.
Customers can find restaurants that serve Asian, Italian, German, African and other dishes on The International Restaurant Passport.
Brasdovich said the International Restaurant Passport is a fun way to showcase and support the local hospitality industry. Each restaurant included offers passport users a special offer.
“If you’re on the YumVillage page, you can see that it gives you a brief description of what type of food they offer, what ethnic cuisine is available there, and then what they offer,” Brasdovich said. “And to do that, you hit the redeem button, they’ll send you a rebate.”
Ihentuge is entirely behind the idea.
“I was one of the first restaurants contacted and I love the idea. It puts us in the market here, as far as exposure goes,” he said.
Ihentuge said he is looking forward to introducing even more people to the cuisine he is so passionate about.
“I’ve eaten this food all my life,” he said. “It’s just a pride to extend that reach to the next person.”