By Mallory Bracken and Ryan Whytsell | 2/1/2011

When Derdlim Masten learned to cook for her siblings in Venezuela, she never realized how important it would become in her life. Masten now owns and operates El Gran Sabor, an authentic Venezuelan restaurant in Elkins. In addition to being head chef, Masten serves food, tends the bar, handles the finances, and takes care of anything else that comes her way. With the restaurant depending on her, she can rarely afford to take a day off. Masten says she prefers to cook using her creativity instead of using recipes.

Besides serving authentic Venzuelan food, Masten says El Gran Sabor’s goal is to offer a warm and friendly place for customers to enjoy. Rob Masten, Derdlim’s husband and the co-owner, chats with customers when he gets back to Elkins from his job as a music teacher in Tucker County. The couple met over live music when Derdlim was visiting America. They were both at a bar featuring Salsa music. Derdlim noticed Rob needed help with his dancing. They married a few years later in 2002, and Derdlim became a naturalized American citizen in 2008. Whether it’s through the food, music, dancing or simply the atmosphere, the Mastens have brought a piece of Venezuela home to Elkins.

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