An Interview with Laura, El Salsa

El Salsa is a mobile kitchen that cooks up wholesome Mexican street food. Everything is made from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients; from home grown chilli’s to locally sourced beef. They provide high quality, delicious food at a fast pace without compromising on flavour! With every element homemade and served with love it’s no wonder that El Salsa are thriving, not only in Ceredigion but all over the country, pitching up their food truck at festivals and weddings all year round.  (For the full interview, head over to the Shop page and grab a copy of ISSUE TWO)

Tell us a bit about how El Salsa began… Well I’d been working as a chef for over ten years and I’d been lucky enough to have worked in many places around the world. I’ve always had a passion for working with food and I’ve always enjoyed the fast pace of working in a kitchen. The downfalls for me were the unsociable hours and being stuck within four walls of a hot stuffy (sometimes windowless) all summer long! I soon realised that my dream was to create a lifestyle and business where I’d be able to cook, travel and feed people good, honest food; to bring people together and explore the world simultaneously! I happened to be standing in line for breakfast at ‘Boomtown Festival’ when the idea came to me! Soon after, I bought a clapped out old trailer on ebay and spent my life savings building my mobile Mexican kitchen (with the help from some top class buddies!)… The name El Salsa came about from a friend that couldn’t spell my surname – Elsaesser!

What made you decide on Mexican food? When I was 18 I moved to America for three years, living & working alongside many great Latino chefs and friends. They truly inspired me with all the great flavours and ingredients from Central and South America. I’d always loved Tex-Mex food as a kid, but it was this period in my life that I really fell in love with the authentic food & culture of Mexico. A couple of years later, upon returning to my hometown of Cardigan, I felt there was a real lack of healthy, tasty takeaway options in the area. I knew that Mexican food would be a new, fresh and exciting addition- the people seem to absolutely love it!

What made you decide you wanted to make your food mobile? I love to travel, I have a thirst for culture and new experiences. Before I started El Salsa I would find that I’d get itchy feet after working somewhere for longer than six months- I’d get restless and move on. I’ve learnt that for me to be at my most passionate and creative with food, I need to be constantly exploring and inventing. Being mobile is a perfect antidote for boredom! It’s been great to work at so many contrasting locations- from weddings to festivals, we’re always keeping things fresh; it keeps life interesting!

 

You guys always have such big crowds when you’re catering, what’s the hardest thing about cooking in such a small space when times get particularly busy? That’s it exactly, not having enough space! Our trailer can only really fit four people working comfortably alongside each other. When times get crazy busy, we just have to work as quickly and efficiently as possible, trying our hardest to keep the food and service to the highest quality- whilst keeping up with the high demand! There is one thing that we will guarantee- that even when the pressure’s on, we’ll always be smiling!

What’s one ingredient you couldn’t cook without? Coriander! It is a staple in most Mexican cooking and goes into all our fresh salsas and hot sauce. It’s flavour is so floral and citrusy; chopped up and sprinkled on top of any dish gives it an instant freshness.

 

One thing I love about El Salsa is how fresh you keep it constantly changing the menu with new specials, what’s your all time favourite thing to have ever hit the menu? Argh, that’s a tricky one! An all time favourite for me was our Cajun Salmon Tacos with mango & avocado salsa, served with our shredded street salad & lime. We also made these amazing spiced butternut squash, spinach, black bean & feta Empanadas, served with chipotle cream & ‘Pico de gallo’ (our classic tomato salsa) for a pop up event. They were so good!

And Finally, what’s been your favourite El Salsa event so far? Do you have anything exciting planned for the future? It’s hard to choose as we’ve had so much fun in so many different locations over the years. I love trading locally as I feel it is a great offering to the area. We love trading at our local pitch and also doing pop ups at ‘The Pizzatipi’ in Cardigan. That said, I also love trading at small independent festivals, like ‘Big Love’ and ‘Unearthed in a field.’  By day three at those festivals, you feel like you know everyone on site and have made loads of new friends! A favourite for me is cooking up breakfast and playing feel good tunes in the morning for the festival folk who are still feeling a bit rusty from the night before! As for the future, I guess we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and find that perfect spot to lay some roots & create an awesome, fun street food destination on the west coast!

Follow El Salsa on Instagram here @elsalsa find the website here www.elsalsa.com