Gran Luchito began with a love of food.
Fergus, our founder and self-confessed foodie, had been lucky enough to visit Mexico on several occasions whilst living in the USA. It was during one of these trips that he discovered Oaxaca, a small Spanish colonial town in Southern Mexico. Made famous for its fantastic architecture, lively art scene and an amazing food culture, Oaxaca is a true foodies paradise and Fergus fell in love.
The City Centre of Oaxaca
It was whilst in Oaxaca that Fergus discovered a unique smoky flavour. A flavour found in all types of Oaxacan food and drink but most famously in mezcal and mole. Whilst this smoky flavour was abundant and easy to find in Oaxaca, in other parts of Mexico and indeed the world it was almost impossible to find.
“I found myself so frustrated that all of the things I loved about Mexican food were so hard to find outside of Mexico. I decided to do something about it.”
|At the start of 2012, Fergus took the bold step to leave his job and start an adventure of his own. And there was only one place he was heading for inspiration.
“I spent an incredible month in Oaxaca sampling all of the foodie delights on offer.”
After several weeks of immersing himself in the region’s culinary scene, it was a visit to a local food market where Fergus discovered the Pasilla Oaxaca Chilli. Small, dark, and shrivelled this chilli is grown and smoked over oak-wood fires by a farming community in the surrounding mountains. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before he paid a visit to these local farmers to find out more.
Fergus lived here for a month researching Gran Luchito
After a month of discovery, Fergus returned to the UK with suitcases of Pasilla Oaxaca chillies and other Oaxacan delights. This is when the hard work began, working tirelessly in the kitchen to perfect a recipe.
Inspired by all he had learnt in Oaxaca, Fergus was determined to come up with an idea that would do Oaxaca justice.
“My aim was to create a recipe so good that it would become known and loved. I knew this would be very hard, but armed with all the fantastic Oaxacan ingredients I had found, I knew I was off to a good start.”
Fergus put his head down, lit the stove and started cooking. Working through all the recipes that he had learnt in Oaxaca, he settled on a recipe called Chintextle for inspiration.
“Chintextle is a smoked chilli paste traditionally used as a base for stews. I fell in love with it for its ability to preserve the unique smoky flavour of the Pasilla Oaxaca chilli”
By removing the nuts, seeds and dried shrimp often found in Chintextle and adding more contemporary ingredients such as balsamic vinegar Fergus knew he was onto something.
To get the recipe 100% perfect Fergus needed help. This came from the amazing chef turned food blogger Alex Talbot. Accompanied by Susanna Trilling, Fergus and Alex hit the kitchen. The magic moment came in Alex’s home kitchen in Philadelphia on Wednesday 4th April, 2012. Gran Luchito was born.
The last step of the journey was to take the newly created Gran Luchito back to the chilli farmers to get their verdict. Thankfully they couldn’t get enough of it! Confident that he had something special, it was time to leave the sunshine behind and travel back to the UK where he would unleash his Mexican Magic onto London’s unsuspecting foodie scene. But that’s a story for another time…