|Fresh bread is one way Scott Ensminger tempts customers with Western fare. (China Daily/Darnell Gardner JR)|
For one genial American, achieving his dream is meaningless unless he can help others to do the same.
Scott Ensminger, 29, first came to China in 2005, after graduating with a degree in engineering. He came at a time when opening a restaurant abroad was but a leftover childhood aspiration.
Late last year, he decided to take that dream off the backburner and together with his wife and two others started planning Ahava, a quaint sandwich shop and cafe, tucked into an alleyway near the west gate of the University of International Business and Economics.
With Ahava, Ensminger wants to address what he feels are two of Beijing's missing ingredients: philanthropy and quality Western food.
While he was working on his menu, he was also working with local charities to locate and train three young men to work in Ahava.
In addition to serving tasty, fairly priced food, Ensminger and his business partners say they want their kitchen to become a platform for philanthropy.
Jiang Lixi, one of Ensminger's business partners, says Ahava is an opportunity to give back to the community.
Jiang says the three young men hired to work as waiters in Ahava, all orphans ranging in age from 17 to 21, too old to be adopted, but also too inexperienced to enter the workforce.
Ensminger says he teaches them skills they'll be able to use to achieve their own dreams in the future.
Song Liuxi, one of the waiters at Ahava, says the skills he's learning will help him achieve his dream of opening a chocolate shop.
"I've learned how to cook and how to communicate," says Song. "I've learned a lot from watching Scott talk to customers."