A Rising Star
Melaque’s Elio Rivera Stras has big dreams – in sports, music, the culinary arts and the environment.
“I aspire to have a very successful musical career and also create a sustainable company that dominates the world to inspire people to follow the example so that the earth survives,” he says confidently.
“Then there is running. I would like to have a great sports career for my name to be heard everywhere.”
His parents, Gabriel Rivera Estrada from Mexico City and Florence Stas from Belgium, are artisans who met in Aguascalientes and traveled the country selling their silver jewelry, stones and recycled glass, until they settled in Melaque, where Elio was born in 2002.
Elio loved the water as a baby, learning to swim before he could even walk. At age 11 his parents enrolled him in a local swim team and for the next five years he swam competitively, winning many prizes.
His passion then began to sway toward running, and so he entered a three-kilometer race.
“I discovered that I was very fast,” he says. “So I kept entering races until I was running the ten-kilometer races. That’s when I quit swimming competitions and my running ability improved a lot. Now I’m winning [top] places in the 21-kilometer races.”
As for his music, Elio explains: “For me it’s not just a hobby. I would like to create my own band, compose my own songs, and be able to revive rock and roll.”
In his spare time Elio practices drums and percussion, as well as the bass and guitar. “My favorite instrument is the drums and all music in which drums dominate,” he says. He also plays local venues in his friend Carlos Cornejo’s rock band, The Black Pearls.
Pursuing his passion for the culinary arts, Elio has started his own company called Pasta Rivera. “The origin of the pasta company comes from my taste for gastronomy and cooking and my concern to be economically well off in the future,” he says. “Plus I love Italian food.”
Before making pasta, Elio tried his hand at making truffles but found them very complicated. “Then I made and sold Belgian waffles and made lots of money but they were complicated too.”
Elio had made pasta with his grandparents in their home in Belgium during his summer vacations, so when he saw a rolling mill and pasta cutter for sale on Facebook he knew what it was. “The person selling it thought it was a paper cutter. I knew that very few people in Jalisco make their own pasta, so I decided to make the investment and produce pasta. The recipe is easy. It’s only flour, olive oil, eggs, water and salt.”
Elio began with plastic packaging and invited customers to return the packages to refill. Recently he has switched to paper.
“Due to my ethics and the excess plastic waste in Mexico and the world, I decided to change to paper bags because they biodegrade easily.
“My goal is to create a great sustainable company that competes worldwide and is an example economically and socially.”
Elio is currently in his senior year in high school. Asked if he intends to continue his education or concentrate on his business and other pursuits, he says he’s still undecided. In either case, the sky’s the limit for young Elio.
• The Heart to Our Children annual benefit for the elementary school in Barra is held Friday, January 31. Join friends for a three-course dinner followed by live music, auction, Mexican folklore, and much more. Cost is 280 pesos per person, with all proceeds going to maintenance and improvements at the school. Doors open at 5 p.m. Dinner is served at 6 p.m., followed by entertainment. The event is at the elementary school, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi 112, Barra de Navidad.
• Tai Chi/Qigong continues on the beach in West Melaque Mondays and Fridays, from 8 to 9 a.m. For more information, contact @Dawn Didi Aarons Wellness on Facebook.
• The second annual Buena Onda Yoga and Wellness Festival in Barra de Navidad is not to be missed. This three-day festival offers a variety of yoga classes, meditation, pilates, Tai Chi, Qigong workshops, sound bath, live music, DJs, and a market offering vegetarian food, artisanal products and wellness-related services. Friday to Sunday, February 7, 8, and 9. For more information and tickets, contact @Kalina Saunders on Facebook.
CENAC Book Fair
Don’t miss the first annual Costalegre Book Fair. Twenty-two authors will be reading, answering questions, autographing books and sharing the secrets of their craft. The fair takes place at the Center for Art and Culture (CENAC), Las Cabañas 15, Melaque, on Monday, January 27, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CENAC is a community center offering classes, an art gallery, cafe, events and movies, using funds raised during the winter tourist season to employ local art, dance, martial arts, ballet, fashion, crafts and culinary arts instructors. Students of all ages may enroll and take the free classes.
The mission of the annual book fair is to grow into a robust event featuring writers, publishers, bookstores, online outlets and writing classes.
For more information, to share ideas or volunteer, contact CENAC Centro de Arte y Cultura on Facebook or call 315-110-4978.