Salgado: Long may he reign
Salgado: Long may he reign
OC Weekly archives

Mexico's Greatest Chefs Are Holding Special Dinners at Taco Maria for its 3-Year Anniversary!

Such is the star of Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado that for its three-year anniversary, it's going to host the two biggest names in Mexican cooking right now: Javier Plascencia and Enrique Olvera. It's a home-and-home series of sorts, as Salgado has cooked at the two's respective eateries in Baja California over the past couple of years. 

Rather than me hail the importance of this—and this is fucking important to OC cuisine; when was the last time galaxy-class chefs decided to drop into OC to cook alongside one of our own for a night?—I'll let Taco Maria hail itself. In the meanwhile, get yourselves some tickets for a night of DESMADRE.

Taco María, Orange County’s award-winning Alta California restaurant, turns three this fall. In honor of this milestone, the restaurant will welcome three of Mexico’s most acclaimed chefs for a series of celebratory dinners.

In 2013, chef/owner Carlos Salgado opened Taco María in his native Orange County after years of training in some of the best kitchens in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, the restaurant has received numerous accolades, including being named #2 on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants list in the Los Angeles Times, as well as Orange County’s best restaurant by the Orange County Register and the OC Weekly. Chef Carlos Salgado was a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: West in 2016 and a 2015 Food & Wine Best New Chef.

“I opened Taco María in Orange County because this is where I’m from,” says Salgado, “and I wanted to honor my family’s culture and their hard work by making Mexican-inspired food with a reverence for provenance. As I have gotten to know the farmers, purveyors, and restaurant culture of Southern California, I have also grown closer to some of the chefs and producers doing similar work in Mexico.

“The food we make at Taco María—beginning with the nixtamalization of corn for masa each morning—is part of a larger conversation between chefs and restaurants in our time and place here in Southern California, and across borders. I am humbled to have formed deep connections with my colleagues creating some of most exciting food in Mexico and Southern California over the past three years.”

To bring light to this conversation, and form a more direct connection between the great minds of Mexico’s culinary world and the guests of his restaurant in Orange County, Salgado has invited three mentors and friends to cook at Taco María in honor of the anniversary.

Salgado's legendary aguachile
Salgado's legendary aguachile
Photo by The Mexican

The three anniversary dinners will be held on October 7, November 11, and December 2, 2016, each with a different award-winning chef from Mexico:

• October 7 – Javier Plascencia – The series begins with Javier Plascencia, whose restaurants in San Diego, Tijuana, and south—including the fine-dining restaurant Misión 19, the original Caesar’s, and the new Bracero in San Diego—highlight the best of Baja, California. The New Yorker called Chef Plascencia “the figurehead of Baja cuisine.” ticket price = $160, all-inclusive

• November 11 – Diego Hernandez – The second dinner will feature Diego Hernandez, chef of Corazón de Tierra. Located in the Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada in Baja, and surrounded by the region’s best wineries, his restaurant is bold, beautiful, and honest, embodying Mexican home-grown locavorism. The restaurant was, deservedly, named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants on the San Pellegrino list. Ticket Price = $160, all-inclusive

• December 2 – Enrique Olvera – For the final dinner in the three-part series, Taco María is honored and delighted to welcome Enrique Olvera to Orange County. As seen in season two of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, Chef Olvera is perhaps the best-known chef in Mexico. His flagship restaurant Pujol in Mexico City is often named the country’s finest. Recently, he opened Cosme, his first restaurant in the United States, in New York’s Flatiron. Ticket Price = $200, all-inclusive

All three dinners will feature a multi-course menu with dishes from the visiting guest chef and Chef Carlos Salgado. The ticket price for each dinner includes a curated selection of beverages, as well as tax, gratuity, and service charge. Please note: for these special events, Taco María will not be able to make modifications and substitutions to the menus.

Tickets for each dinner will be available starting three weeks from the dinner date (September 16, October 21, and November 11, respectively) at No ticket sales will be made via phone, although questions regarding ticket sales can be directed to the restaurant’s main line: 714.538.8444 or


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