Botwood woman offers taste of Norway with food tours
Cheyanne Smart is the creator of Bergen Food Tours
Botwood native Cheyanne Smart says she is bringing a little bit of Newfoundland attitude with her as she kick-starts a business almost 4,000 kilometres away.
Smart has just entered her second year running Bergen Food Tours, which promises to take curious tourists behind the scenes to authentic local restaurants and bars in the Norwegian city.
It's a business that started after Smart took her very first tour on a trip to Stockholm in 2012.
"As time went on, and we travelled more, I wanted to experience different cultures, but not in the way as a normal tourist would. But instead through food, and this is where it all blossomed."
The Newfoundlander moved to Bergen, Norway, with her boyfriend, as he relocated to work. A job in the tourism industry was ideal for her, as an English speaker in a town with a lot of tourists.
Smart advertises the opportunity to become a "Bergen insider" on the tours, which she said feature up to 30 local restaurants and businesses.
"I'm actually taking my guests to restaurants that I would eat at, and bars that I would normally go to," she said.
"We're trying to connect our guests with the individuals that work there, whether they're cutting the vegetables or they're just cleaning the dishes at the end of the night."
Smart said she tries to build meaningful relationships with the local restaurants, especially because she's the first in her city to offer a food tour experience.
"What I've taken from my time in Botwood, or even Newfoundland, is I still have the values," she said. "I'm trying to bring income and recognition and highlight all of these different local restaurants and farmers and so on. I'm still trying to help a neighbour in a sense, that you know I would have normally had in Botwood."
Smart said she's also been influenced by her family, particularly her grandmother, who was a baker at a local supermarket.
"My entire life, I was tasting different baked goods …The funniest part of it all was my mom doesn't know how to cook, so in fact I was actually raised on chicken nuggets, fries, those microwave pizzas."
As an entrepreneur, Smart is looking now to expand her business to other parts of Europe, and maybe some destinations closer to her home.
"You need someone who's going to understand the food history and appreciate the food history, and if you have the right connections … whether it be homes or restaurants or what have you, I believe that rural Newfoundland has a very rich food history."