November 8, 2013 | 11:07pm
In 2009 to 2010, during Baja California's darkest hours, where tourism evaporated due to the big scare of the H1N1 pandemic, the escalation of Mexico's drug war between the government and various cartels, and the full implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative--Chef Jair Téllez
found himself at a crossroad. The story of Tellez and Laja was prologue to an epic tale of Mexican food and wine that is still being written--his legacy was secure. In 2001, Laja
moved the Valle de Guadalupe a quantum leap forward from prune juice and huevos rancheros
to a world famous farm-to-table movement for an emerging wine region.
But after a nice run, the bad new scared off the U.S. tourists, the chilangos were still a couple of years away from turning the Valle's economy around, so
Téllez's attempt to find an audience in Ensenada at Restaurante del Parque lasted only months before he threw in the towel. Fast forward to 2013, where
Téllez's red hot MeroToro in D.F. and Laja both placed on Latin America's 50 Best(he's the only chef to get 2 spots), he was recently named GQ Mexico's chef of the year, and now the triumphant
Téllez has his sights on Tijuana with his new, chic,urban concept, Verde y Crema.
Verde y Crema is a place to enjoy a Mexican craft beer with pig ear chicharrones, citified yellow tail ceviche, or the chef's riff on the regional beef birria. Téllez comes from Sonora, but his cooking style has no such sentiments, nor has Mexico City been able to leave an impression on the revolutionist chef--many would call his cooking Valle de Guadalupe cuisine, but that's like calling Bob Marley's music, reggae-style.
The restaurant showcases young, local artists Fernando Méndez Corona and Gloria Muriel; and muralists Alonso Delgadillo and Rod Villa to creative a convergence of all that is fashionable about Tijuana.
Now more than ever, Tijuana is coming into focus with Téllez
planting his flag across the street from the BCB tasting room in fracc. Neidhart, in a city whose international celebrity was placed on the shoulders of only a few chefs. This is the logical place for Chef Jair Téllez
to transmit his original style north of the border along with Chefs Javier Plascencia(Mision 19, Caesar's, Erizo Fish Market), Miguel Angel Guerrero (La Querencia, El Taller, El Colegio), Humberto Aviles( La Caza Club), and adopted Baja Californio, Chad White
, who will open in Tijuana very soon.
Chef Jair Téllez is one of Mexico's elite chefs, who defies all categories and torpedoes all barriers--he is neither a part of any of the cliquishness of the current celebrity chefs in Mexico and abroad, yet is included in all groups. He's not above or below anyone--he's an equal to the greatest chefs in Mexico, but is also a fan of Mexican-American yellow cheese gastronomy. He's an intellectual and a class clown. This is just what Tijuana needed.
Verde y Crema
, calle Orizaba 3034 Col. Neidhart, Tijuana,B.C., (664) 634-3090 y 92, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://jashez.com/verdeycrema/