by Sara Deseran under Uncategorized with 1 Comment
Friday, August 29, 2014
Everyone loves a fresh-faced wunderkind, especially one that has a way with a knife. Forbes does a 30 Under 30 chef feature, as does Eater.
To these lists, I say pffft! How about something seriously impressive—something like “Two Kitchen Bad Asses Under 24.” And let’s make them female. (Maybe we’ll call it “Goddesses of Food.” Take that Time magazine.)
For this, Joe and I would like to nominate our company’s own chefs: Alica Huerta, 23, our sous chef at Tacolicious in the Mission, and Nicole Marin, 22, our chef at Tacolicious North Beach. These dynamos run our kitchens with a kind of adult-like grace that is remarkable. They also happen to have a few things in common: They attended the CCA and they both have deep roots in Mexico.
In an attempt to steal some of their youth, I made them meet up with me for a little Q&A.
Where were you raised? Any chefs in the house?
Alica: Central California, 45 minutes outside of Fresno in a town called Visalia. My parents are both Mexican American. My mom has been a day care provider for 25 years. She’s an alien—I don’t know how she does it. And my dad is in telecommunications.
Nicole: I was born and raised in Mexicali. My dad is a plastic surgeon and my mom is a part-time lawyer.
Memorable food from growing up?
Nicole: I have a big Mexican family. Every Wednesday we had lunch at 3 pm at my grandma’s house. Her house isn’t big and we were like 20 people. She makes an awesome soup with chunks of potatoes, and tomatoes, pasilla peppers, and onions. She puts a thick Mexican queso fresco on it that melts. It’s so simple, but it’s just so good!
Alica: My mom can throw down. Her posole is it. She grew up eating it every day as a kid. It has the actual foot of the pig in it, and you get that piece in your bowl and you gotta eat it.
[Nicole points at our Paul Madonna painting of cans El Pato.]
Every time I see that, I think about chilaquiles. You can’t get El Pato chilies in Mexico so we’d go and sneak them in from the Walmart in the bordering town in Calexico. My mom always used them and it just became a part of what I think of when it comes to chilaquiles. Read more »