Fernando Trancoso, proprietor of Tepex Meals Truck, hit the streets of Colorado Springs in October of 2020.
His meals truck has grow to be widespread for the flavorful dishes from Central Mexico. He grew up in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which is north of Guadalajara.
The third of seven kids, he began studying about his folks’s meals on the age of 12 when he helped neighbors who had a market. At 16, he and a few pals got here to the U.S. for a brief go to. He favored what he noticed and by no means returned to his house.
As a substitute, he ended up in Santa Fe, the place he honed his culinary expertise and wine training over 21 years in a number of the top-rated eating places in New Mexico. Though he moved to Colorado Springs in 2020, his rapid household are nonetheless in Mexico. He’s divorced and shares custody of his two younger sons, who reside in Santa Fe with their mom.
We joined Trancoso for lunch to be taught extra about his journey from positive eating to coming to Colorado Springs and opening a meals truck. We additionally obtained a touch as to what his subsequent step within the restaurant business is perhaps.
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Query: For uninitiated clients to you and your meals, how would you describe the dishes you create?
Reply: My meals is a tribute to my tradition, to my historical past and to my folks. The idea is Mexican meals within the spirit of artwork. Every part has a contact of romance. My philosophy relies on the traditions and the love for recent components, historic methods and cooking by hand, from scratch. Nothing is frozen. I cook dinner from the center and I give my coronary heart and soul into all my dishes and that’s what I would like folks to really feel, to take from my meals truck.
Q: When did your love of meals and cooking begin?
A: Once I was 12, I began serving to a household close by promote meals on weekends. I cherished watching my grandmother and mom cook dinner too. The identical method our abuelas (grandmothers) have performed it for hundreds of years. To me good meals means good occasions.
Q: In addition to your loved ones influences, have been there different individuals who influenced you?
A: Sure, Diana Kennedy. I’ve a lot respect for her. She made Mexican dishes the best way they need to be made. I prefer to make her recipes however with my very own contact. As an example, for her mole, she would use hen. I like to make use of duck confit for a extra intense, deep taste. I’d serve it with inexperienced tomatillo-based mole with serrano chiles and pumpkin seeds. The duck confit is a French method and the mole is a conventional Central Mexican method. (British-born author Diana Kennedy was considered one of many world’s main consultants on genuine Mexican delicacies and was the creator of 9 cookbooks on the topic. She died July 24 at her house in Zitácuaro, Mexico. She was 99.)
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Q: At 16, how did you get into the restaurant enterprise in Santa Fe?
A: I began like everybody else, as a dishwasher. I labored at Sonic for some time after which obtained my first break with a job at Bert’s La Taqueria in 2001. I used to be supplied a job as a waiter, however my English was restricted. I had at all times performed nicely in class and figured I might be taught rapidly. I used to be there for 2 years and did be taught English. Then I went to an Italian restaurant, Osteria d’Assisi, the place I used to be bartending and ready tables. I used to be there six years. That’s the place I fell in love with the world of wine. I didn’t drink on the time, however I cherished the tales in regards to the historical past of wine, how the grapes are grown and the way wine is made.
Q: Did you pursue wine training?
A: Sure, I’ve accomplished the second stage of wine training by means of the Courtroom of Masters.
Q: Throughout the 21 years you lived and labored in Santa Fe, who’re a number of the different cooks in your culinary ladder?
A: Martín Rios at Restaurant Martín has been a mentor for me. He has been a finalist 5 occasions by the James Beard Award. Additionally, Fernando Olea who owns Sazón, a extremely rated place with 4 AAA diamonds, has been influential with my culinary and wine training and appreciation.
Q: How did you develop your culinary expertise?
A: I’m a front-of-the-house supervisor and never a skilled chef. Nevertheless, my love of fantastic meals ready superbly has impressed me to review cooking. And I’ve had the chance to work with superb cooks, award-winning cooks. I at all times love cooking and studying as a lot as I might. Watching cooks’ methods and methods of gorgeous presentation — it’s awe-inspiring.
Q: What introduced you to the Springs?
A: After the pandemic shut all the things down in Santa Fe, I got here to Denver and labored there. Then I got here to Colorado Springs to see what the eating scene was like right here. I made a decision there was potential for introducing my tackle Central Mexican delicacies.
Q: What’s the distinction between Central Mexican meals and different areas of Mexico?
A: The completely different components which might be indigenous. In Central Mexico we use numerous pork and corn. Corn grows right here. In Northern Mexico they’ve wheat and beef. There are regionally completely different herbs and spices in numerous places in Mexico.
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Q: If you noticed alternative for following your dream of proudly owning a restaurant, why did you go for a meals truck?
A: First, funds. I leased a truck and saved each penny till I might personal the truck. On the time, the virus was affecting how folks have been eating. The meals truck gave me the liberty to succeed in completely different markets to get my identify out, which is my aim earlier than I transfer into larger issues. I’ve concepts and have been amassing gear and eyeing areas of the Springs the place I believe my type of meals could be a match.
Q: Why the identify Tepex?
A: It’s an fascinating story. I had plans to retire after I was 35, however issues have modified. Tepex is brief for Tepextate, an agave plant that takes about 35 years to mature and blossom. I plan to make mezcal, a sort of tequila, with this particular agave. Once I do have a restaurant, I wish to have a mezcal bar with high-end sipping mezcal.
Q: When that dream involves fruition, do you will have a reputation for the eatery?
A: Sure, Zenaida, my mom’s identify. And it’ll be extra of a positive Mexican eating institution. Within the meantime I’ve one other mission within the works that I’ll name KÜHI. It’s from the Indigenous Mexican language “Otomí” and means “scrumptious.”
(As Trancoso is planning for this subsequent step, proudly owning a restaurant, he retains busy parking his meals truck at particular occasions and at native craft breweries. Observe him on social media for places and occasions of the place to catch him.
contact the author: 636-0271.)