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Among Change, Local Chef Prepares Annual Cuba Trip

by Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A local chef prepares to host his twice-annual trip to Cuba this Spring, but with renewed relations with the United States and the death of Fidel Castro, how will this upcoming visit to Cuba differ from those taken previously?

Cuba Libre Chef Guilermo Pernot says recent political changes likely won't have a huge impact on this trip.

"Now you can bring more rum, more cigars to the United States, you can take direct flights; but besides that, not much has changed," he said.

He says Cuba is still a socialist country where food and money are rationed -- and that's reflective in how his fellow Cuban chefs work.

"Sometimes you don't find any potatoes, or carrots, or whatever it may be; so they make recipes and they change things around constantly," Pernot explained.

Chef Pernot says despite recent changes, Cuba is not a free-for-all.

"No, absolutely not! That's why we have these trips, because you need that special license to go to Cuba and that special visa," he said.

But change is slowly coming.

"People are renovating homes. New restaurants are being built -- by the Spanish, by the French, by the Chinese -- but not by the Americans," said Pernot.

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