Quesada’s founder and Chief Recipe Officer, Steve Gill knows a thing or two about tacos.
As a software consultant flying back and forth from Colorado each week, Steve was craving a serious career change. However, it was encouragement from one his co-workers that he finally pushed him to trade laptops and airport lineups for tortillas and tables. Opening his first Quesada location in Toronto in 2004, Steve has brought quick service, fresh Mexican-inspired food to the forefront, with locations spanning across Canada.
Creating the menu from scratch meant Steve was in creative control, concocting recipes reminiscent of his travels to Mexico and of course, Tex-Mex loving Denver. While the burrito and taco trend had yet to hit Canada, Steve wanted to ensure Quesada’s recipes would stand out with a twist on traditional Mexican flavour — and a noticeable flavour kick.
“Even though we offer fast and convenient food, nothing comes out of a can and it never will at Quesada,” said Steve.
We tapped Steve for his tips so you can make a Mexican feast at home without a lot of fuss.
Quesada’s top five tips for a meatless Mexican feast.
– Tofu- Quesada roasts its ahead of time and braises tender tofu cubes with ancho chili peppers and chipotle sauce
– Beans- Both refried and black bean, opt for vegan varieties that avoid chicken stock
– Rice- A good carby base helps hold it all together, go for brown rice for that extra fibre
– Toppings- Gotta have guacamole, fresh salsa and hot sauces, but branch out and include some salsa verde and fresh cilantro too
– Veggies- More the merrier; diced tomatoes, onions and lettuce are great, but charred corn kernels and pickled onions are unexpected and exciting
If you’re going to serve meat, set up a station for guests to help themselves and ensure there’s no cross contamination with separate spoons and cutlery for each. Have animal-based proteins and plant-based proteins off to each side and label accordingly so there’s no confusion.
Quesada plays with seasonal flavours too, so be inspired at the farmer’s market and grab the latest harvest. As Steve can attest to, cooking with plant-based proteins is almost limitless; jackfruit, spicy cauliflower and of course the crowd-pleasing kale and sweet potato all prove to be popular meat-free mains. Need more inspiration? Quesada’s Ancho Braised Tofu brings a dose of spicy and finishes with a sweet note. Try replicating their flavours at home for your next taco party. You know what they say, imitation is the finest form of flattery.