BARRIO – We caught up with Kevin of Chanchitos Latin Flavours at his new spot at Ample Food Market in Toronto to discuss his latest venture;
Barrio: Hey Kevin, how has the new spot been received by the neighbourhood? How’s Erika?
Kevin: Support has been super strong with a lot of new faces. We have ‘die hard’ customers that follow us wherever we go, but the neighbourhood has welcomed us with open arms as well. There are so many Latinos in this area. It’s incredible. They’re happy that there is now a new fresh option for them. This wouldn’t work if it weren’t for Erika. Not only is she a partner in this venture, but she’s my partner in life. Our families are super supportive of everything we do.
Barrio: What’s the ‘go to’ on the menu?
Kevin: Definitely the hornado is the ‘go to’. Everyone sees that big fat leg, and the first five customers that come and get the hornado while it’s fresh, they devour it. We changed our bread game as well. There’s a Portuguese Bakery in the neighbourhood that we now have a contract with. The bread is made fresh every morning. So the hornado sandwich, the hornado plated are our big hits. After that it’s the bbq chicken, ceviche and lomo saltado.
Barrio: What’s the main difference between catering and now opening your new spot?
Kevin: The main difference is ‘foot traffic’. I mean, some people just come and walk away, but then they come back or call you for catering. You’re always meeting new people. With catering, you’re in a private spot and focusing on your orders. The benefit of having a spot is that people can come and buy some food, if they like it, they’ll return and inquire about catering. I just got a catering job from a lady who loved our empanadas and ceviche. She came back the following day to retain us. There’s a local school that we do a lot of work for as well. This place has been great for us. The advantage to having a kitchen this size is that we are able to pump out more food. We have seven orders for Father’s Day.
Barrio: How do you describe your cooking style:
Kevin: Clean, simple, honest food coming at you! I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m trying to stay Ecuadorian traditional. My goal is to bring you back to when you were 9 yrs old and your abuelita made you that ‘plato fuerte’. Churrasco, aguado, caldo de pata, caldo de mangera, ceviche… any of those. We want to take you back to when you were excited about eating at your abuelita’s house. I’ve had people come in here and say “you’re food reminds me of my abuelita’s cooking.”
Barrio: What’s on the menu for your grand opening this Saturday?
Kevin: We’re doing something special for the grand opening. Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult menu. On the menu we’re going to have salchi papa and quesadillas for kids. Then of course the heavy hitters like the hornado, ceviche de cameron, empanadas, chicharrones, fried rice, arroz, menestra, etc. I wanted to add that someone came up to me and said that they’ve never seen an Ecuadorian, or Latino hot table. I don’t know who else is doing this in Toronto, but I know we are!
On Instagram as @chanchitoslatinflavours
It was a pleasure catching up with Kevin. We’ve been fans from time. See you at the grand opening this Saturday. Chanchitos Latin Flavours is located at Ample Food Market at 605 Rogers Rd in Toronto.