They say attitude reflects product. Speaking with Beto Solis, manager at The Peached Tortilla, he exclaimed “I love my job. Maybe, it is to the point where people may not understand [laughs]”. It’s no wonder the food is amazing. The Peached Tortilla serves a delightful fusion of Mexican and Chinese food. For the past few years it has grown in popularity and has since set the standard for how mobile food, service, taste and quality should be. The BBQ Brisket sliders, Banana Nutella Wontons, Pork belly tartine — this place has what it takes to make your tastebuds dance. As Austin natives ourselves we’ve become familiar with The Peached Tortilla for quite some time and recently took part in the first ever mobile food take over competition. We sit down with manager Beto Solis to discuss the creative process behind the menu and the exciting news of their new physical brick and mortar store opening later this year. Read below for the full Q&A…
Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your time at Le Cordon Bleu and how you found yourself with The Peached Tortilla?
Well, I just graduated about two years ago. I was always familiar with working in a kitchen due to my grandfather having a lunch cart, which is how he supported his family. It afforded us the opportunity to go to school, which I was going to be a vet, but decided maybe being a veterinarian wasn’t the way to go for me. I’ve always had a passion for food and now I have over nine years of experience in the food industry! After college I was a sous chef at Iron Cactus and then I went to Mexico and my friend Richard was a shift leader at The Peached Tortilla who told me about the opening. I was always interested in joining a food truck as it’s apparently the ‘thing’ to do here in Austin. It’s been incredible.
Eric, the founder of The Peached Tortilla has said in the past that he gauged the success of his business by being grouped in with Chi’Lantro. Now you guys are going head to head with them. How has the transition been like stepping out of their shadow and evolving into your own identity?
Eric just wanted to do his own thing so he bought his own truck. Fast forward to six months ago he got another food truck and now we are independent; completely independent. We are still very good friends with them. We both work hard to make money and make good food.
You guys were narrowly beat out by them at the Mobile Food Take Over. If you ask us, Pork belly tartine, pork belly, and pineapple herb salad trumps a french fry dish anyday. What was the gameplan before going into action that day?
Our gameplan was different from Chilantro as they had a lot of fried food. We do a lot of fresh made to order food, so that’s the reason why we had/have a huge line. Frying food is quick, but for instance, our tartine takes a lot of time — we have to prepare it just right. Cilantro, pineapple, radishes and sea salt all take a lot of time to prepare, make it look pretty, and taste fresh. We were trying to get a way better quality then our competition.
Oh, I think you guys succeeded on that aspect. Speaking of evolving, you guys are opening a brick and mortar in Allandale this year. I think the biggest difference between the two is the actual physical space from which you’ll operate and cook. Now that you have a bigger kitchen to cook in, what kind of possibilities does that open up for the menu?
We are still thinking up of different dishes every day. Sometimes myself and the staff try out different ideas. We can’t tell you exactly the dishes but they will be similar to the food truck, however, we want to be a bit more fancy with it as well.
What is the creative process like?
We read a lot of Bon Appétit Magazine, brush up on how we can go toe to toe with the competition, and create something rich beautiful and tasteful. To sum it up, we read a lot, lots of research, that’s primarily how we approach it.
And when it comes to catering or even being present at a wedding, are you able to create versatile menu’s pertaining to each unique event?
We do a lot of personalized menu items. It’s a totally different menu versus our regular menu like cheese grits and shrimp, kimchi bowl, etc. It’s a lot of different varieties.
How has your role evolved over the past year? Will you be transitioning to the physical store or stay in the mobile truck?
Right now, I’m managing the food trucks. I’d like to move in at some point but I would like the team to grow along with me before I do that. I’ll still be helping out in the store but a lot of our team is brand new to the food service industry. Lots of 12 hour days!
Do you have any favorite Asian films?
Ip Man, I really liked that one.
Lastly any advice for any budding culinary students looking to improve their skills?
Don’t be afraid of a knife. You’re going to cut yourself and burn yourself. A lot. You have to learn from that. Respect the industry, always go that extra mile, and you have to be prepared because once you run out of food in a mobile truck, you’re out. It’s not like a restaurant. You have to be prepared.
Want to GET PEACHED?! Follow their cookie crumb trail below:
Restaurant Opening Fall 2014:
5520 Burnet Road, Austin