The Blind Burro, A Chef’s Dream

Once in a while, you receive affirmation that your life’s work has made a difference in someone else’s life. When Rick Bayless and I decided to commit to having chefs’ trips for food professionals twelve years ago, our purpose was to share our love for Mexico, its people and its cuisine, and to encourage young chefs to explore the richness and diversity that make this cuisine so wonderful. I wanted to share this letter that we received from one of our chefs who has participated in two of our trips. Sara has just opened the Blind Burro in San Diego at 639 J St., specializing in Baja cuisine. We are so proud of her and appreciate the small part that we had in inspiring her to make her dream come true.

Marilyn,

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for creating the outlet for the many chefs and food professionals who have attended your trips over the years to be exposed to and inspired by the Mexican culture and cuisine. Without the opportunity I jumped at 2 years ago, I would not be experiencing what I am right now. Although my passion for authentic Mexican food and its culture was initially inspired by Rick and his show, it has been elevated to a new level each time I come back from one of your trips. The knowledge, techniques, flavors, experiences and inspiration from the chefs, colleagues and culture around me when we are on the trips is priceless and has truly changed my life and who I am as a person.

I am writing this to you not even 24 hours after the most surreal experience of my career. I just spent the last 3 1/2 months developing a menu for a Baja inspired restaurant, Blind Burro, that we opened last night in downtown San Diego. I have never been prouder of anything I have accomplished in my career and it seems to be the consensus of the guests as well. We served an overwhelming number of people last night and it was as if we had been open for years. As I walked the dining room talking to guests, they commented that they had never seen anyone so excited about the food. I owe so much of that to you and everyone involved in my experiences over the years. From Rick to Roberto (Santibañez), Ricardo (Muñoz), Ana Elena (Martinez), all of my fellow chefs and everyone I have met along the way on this incredible journey.

I know that not everyone will enjoy the food, that is just the nature of the game…..but I know that I put my heart and soul into this project, because it has become so much a part of me. I have so much more to learn about the food and culture and it will become part of my life journey to dive deeper with every experience. I had the opportunity to work side by side with Javier Plascencia (Misión 19) last week and talk with Miguel Ángel (Guerrero Yaguës of La Querencia) at his museum exhibit and I feel like there are great things to come with them in the new year.

I just wanted you and the others to know how much I appreciate what you/they have done for me and I thank all of you!

Happiest of Holidays!

Sara Polczynski

To follow the Blind Burro you can like their page on Facebook. To read more about the Baja experience our chefs experienced in September, go here. Our next chefs’ trip will be to Mexico City and Puebla September 22-24, 2013.

Chefs’ Trip to Valle de Guadalupe

Part Two

Hugo D'Acosta

Hugo D’Acosta

On our day to the Valle de Guadalupe, we spent several hours with Hugo D’Acosta the wine maker from the Casa de Piedre as he took us through his very innovative wine school and winery, La Esculita. It was truly an amazing experience and anyone coming to this area should make a point of visiting. They do make their own wine and quality wine for other growers, as well as teach the basic principles of wine growing to those just starting out.

This is all done in a converted olive oil factory where the additional buildings are built of recycled materials, most connected to viticulture–wine bottles, thick hoses, wood stakes and fragments of barrels.

Some of their wines as well as other Baja wineries can be obtained from Baja Wines.

It was an incredible experience.

Chefs' Trip Baja 2012

Chefs’ Trip Baja 2012

Our next Chefs’ trip will be to Mexico City and Puebla, September 22-29, 2013. More details will be forthcoming.

You can see more pictures from this year’s Chefs’ trip here.