Our Interview with Meso Maya’s Nico Sanchez, Part 1: Honing His Craft in Small-Town Mexico

mesamaya.jpgFacebookMesa Maya tacos.​When Mike Kearns, owner of El Fenix, set about opening an authentic, regional Mexican food restaurant in Dallas, he tapped Nico Sanchez, who’d spent his youth working and traveling throughout Mexico and learning about regional foods. The resulting restaurant, Meso Maya, has been open for just over a month but is getting pretty positive buzz by those who have stopped in.

In part of our ongoing interview series with local chefs, Thee-Course Meal, we talked to Sanchez about his path to the corner of Preston and Forest. Tomorrow, look for more from Sanchez, including his take on Dallas’ food scene.

What do you remember about the food you ate as a child?
I grew up in a small town in Mexico called Guanajuato. There were no restaurants in town and so my mom cooked all the time from basic ingredients like corn and beans. That’s all we had.

When did you first learn to cook?
My father died when I was very young, so when I was 11 I had to get a job to help my family. I worked at a local bakery where we made everything from scratch. We used a huge wood-burning brick stove that could bake 14 loaves at a time. It was very unique and, now that I think about it, cooking different breads and pastries in that oven was really an art. Then the owner left for America and I ran it myself for a while. But, when I was 14 I had to go to Mexico City for a better job.

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