When Chef Carlos Salgado opened Taco María in 2013, he made a decision to honor his family’s culture and their hard work by making Mexican-inspired food with a reverence for its provenance. Using the best ingredients available and applying the techniques and values he learned in Michelin-starred restaurants, Salgado works to create a syncretic Alta California cuisine that represents Mexican food by putting real corn at the foundation.
At the heart of the restaurant is a Mexican saying: “Sin maíz, no hay país.” “Without corn, there is no country.” Recognizing the importance of corn to reinterpreting or evoking Mexican cuisine, Salgado nixtamalizes and processes all of Taco María’s masa products in house from heirloom varieties of corn grown by small family farms in Mexico.
Prior to opening Taco María, Salgado spent a decade in San Francisco and Oakland, learning in many of the Bay Area’s best kitchens, including Vernon Morales’ Winterland, Daniel Patterson’s Coi, and James Syhabout’s Commis. He was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2015, as well as Chef of the Year in the Orange County Register. Each year since 2016, he has been named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: West. Star Chefs honored Salgado with their 2017 Rising Star Community Chef award for his commitment to the values and practices that make Taco María a responsible social institution.
Awards & Press
- Michelin 1 Star