I can become lo que yo deseo. This is Armando Tam’s mindset. On episode 26 of The Big Sip, Armando Tam and I joked how I didn’t really know how to introduce him because he’s involved in so many different industries – food, sports, business development, culture–but at the core is a human who simply wants to do and become anything he loves, while simultaneously ensuring there are opportunities and pipelines for the current and future success of Latinos and Latinas, all while breaking down barriers along the way.
Born in Nicaragua and raised in the Bay Area, Armando has always strived to maintain a connection with his roots that’s represented in all of his partnerships and ventures. 20 years ago when Armando had a cancer scare, he took that as a sign from God that he needed to take every opportunity that presented itself and do something big with it because it was a second chance of life. His mindset became centered on living purposefully and turning passion into profession–taking what you love and finding a way to make money. Whether it was taking salsa dancing classes that led to teaching private lessons and eventually performing and making a living off of it, or watching cooking videos on Food Network and choosing to open up multiple restaurants, Armando consistently needed to fuel his desire to rewrite his narrative and go after what he loves. An echoed sentiment found in LatinX families all over the world.
As a child, Armando witnessed his mother have multiple streams of income trying to provide for their family, heavily influencing how he would lead his life. Knowing he couldn’t dance forever, Armando got into real estate and rose to become an Executive for NAHREP, educating communities of color, hosting L’atitude conferences that empower and uplift Latin@’s in pursuit of establishing wealth and building community. Yearning for more, he used his resources and relationships with NBA athletes to tap into a sports management agency with Veritas Training Academy to assist youth coming from foreign Latin countries trying to further their education while simultaneously making it in the NBA. Several years ago he launched Tito’s Mundo, his personal fashion brand that drove a positive message about Latin culture. We believe in achieving dopeness. We believe in buena vibra. We believe in being bendecidos. I can become lo que yo deseo.
Today, you can catch him wholeheartedly invested in all of these different industries and partnerships, as well as fusing his love for food, culture and beverage through his culinary businesses. While many would assume he was inspired to become a chef because of his grandparents’ Chinese-Nicaraguense Restaurante Chop Suey, his passion and love for food simply comes from recognizing that food acts as a bridge to connecting with cultures and people organically, further inspiring his creativity. Currently he’s amplifying the beauty of cultural foods from the East Coast to the West Coast through Comidazo and Paladar, as well as his upcoming cook book It’s A Vibe with renowned Sommelier, Jaton Gunter.
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