TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Like a well-played game of telephone, each order goes through many ears before the food is delivered to the table. Our cashiers parrot back each order, assuring that they heard what the guest wants. Next the order is sent to the kitchen where it is prepared and plated. Finally, our expeditor—or, as we call them, "expo"—culls the order and makes sure it's correct before runners bring it to the table. May's spotlight is on Claudia Rodriguez who has the superpower of interpreting each order and insuring what the guest is expecting is what they receive—sometimes sending plates back to the kitchen for adjustments. Insisting on the correct presentation of each and every plate that she handles is how she has set the bar high for her entire team of expos. Always following procedure, Claudia demonstrates her understanding that any mistake on her part would slow down the restaurant's promise to serve food quickly. Her calm presence in the heat of a rush of customers is appreciated and adopted by her team.
We love working with Claudia because of her direct style of communication, firm manner, and high standards with which she trains our other expos.
Our April Spotlight is on team member Francisco Barragan. He may not be a face you see at your table or at the cash register, but he is surely a part of nearly every meal you have at Picante. One of our most versatile line cooks, he has a particular passion for the customer experience. Despite his position in the "back of the house" he is acutely aware that his performance behind the scenes makes or breaks each guest's visit.
As a cook, Francisco has mastered every station "on the line" and is continually perfecting his culinary techniques and insights. Francisco's care for the food and guests is thorough: the details he brings to his plating; his support of servers in assuring order accuracy; following special instructions; his cool demeanor as rush-hour ramps up, and his focus on delivering excellent quality to every guest.
It's a joy for everyone at Picante to call Francisco a colleague. He is a steadfast presence at Picante for his dedication (and his wily sense of humor!)
My journeys south of the border began four decades ago. Everything about Mexico captivated me—the art, the history, and especially the food. But when I returned back home to my native Berkeley I couldn’t find the flavors I’d savored while traveling and studying the cuisine from one region of Mexico to the next. So after years of cooking for friends and family, with ingredients I stashed in my suitcase from my many trips south, Picante was born.
Picante is an expression of my love for Mexico. Love is why I grind corn daily for our tortillas, import Mexican herbs, spices & chiles , and why I have local artisans craft cheese capturing the same nuances as fresh Mexican queso. Love explains why I grill only never-ever meats and why our addictive chips come from organic corn tortillas we slice right here—not from a bag.
I would never claim Picante is authentically Mexican—food can only be considered truly authentic if it’s made in Mexico. And while the dishes at Picante may not be coming from some grandmother’s kitchen in Mexico, the reactions I get tell me it’s pretty close.
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