Frank Valdez / Executive Chef, Broken English Taco Pub, Chicago, Illinois
With three eclectic neighborhood locations in Chicago, Broken English Taco Pub is using traditional Mexican street food as a platform for bold, unusual flavors. Executive Chef Frank Valdez earned Michelin stars two years in a row as chef de cuisine at the former Mexique and is an expert at layering flavors. He dresses a fall salad of baby kale, crisp granny smith apples, toasted pepitas, pickled red onion, cotija cheese and pollo al pastor with lime juice and The Perfect Purée Tamarind Puree.
“The flavors all meld together for an explosion of taste,” he says. “I often say that my flavoring is reminiscent to riding a rollercoaster with the highs, lows and twists and turns of the ride.”
The vibe at Broken English is colorful and eclectic — just like the streets that inspire its food. For dessert, Valdez makes a dipping sauce for warm cinnamon-dusted churros with The Perfect Purée Passion Fruit Concentrate, fresh vanilla bean, honey, orange and lime juice and heavy cream. Served over double chocolate gelato, it’s a mosaic of complementary flavors in a familiar format.
Frank says he’s always on the lookout for products that enable him to create memorable dishes but with three locations, consistency is key to ensure guests have the best experience every time.
“Utilizing The Perfect Purée aids in keeping this consistency while offering unique flavor profiles to our dishes that wow guests every time,” Frank says.
In his experience, the high sugar content of many purées limits their use to the pastry kitchen.
“I enjoy that the Tamarind Puree tastes exactly like tamarind,” Frank says.
A Chicago native, Frank knew he wanted to be a chef from a young age and attended culinary school at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of America. He now has more than 20 years’ experience in the restaurant industry, starting on the opening team of the Hotel Sofitel Chicago and continuing as chef de cuisine at Mexique, a pioneering fusion of Mexican and French cuisine whose chef, Carlos Gaytán, became the first Mexican to earn a Michelin star in 2013.