It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, but the light is already on in Wendy Garcia’s kitchen. There are butternut squash tamales and gluten free tacos to be made. “I want to fix food that is interesting, flavor-filled, and healthy—all at once,” she says.
Despite her seven-day-a-week commitment, cooking is not just a job for her; it’s a passion. “My foods are fresh, locally sourced, organic, and tasty—and prepared with love,” she says. “When you say vegan or gluten-free, people think it’s not going to be tasty, and I want to change that perception.”
Growing up in a meat-eating family in Hermosillo, Mexico, Garcia got her cooking gene from her father. “En mi casa, es papa en la cocina,” she says. Garcia became a vegan a decade ago, a choice reflected in her Tumerico products as she celebrates her second anniversary.
“Making food is putting myself out there because a little part of me is in every product. I want people to feel comfortable when they come to the Tumerico table at farmers’ markets. I want them to enjoy my efforts and the love and passion I put into my cooking. I put a lot of heart in what I do. I have fun orchestrating production in the kitchen hoping that others will enjoy eating my food.”
The first thing she started selling was butternut squash tamales, now her signature product. “I take advantage of the extra pair of hands when my mother comes to visit me. She’ll tell me stories while we’re making 500 to 600 tamales at a time, working all day and stopping only when we run out of masa. I never have leftovers when it comes to tamales because they go well with rice and beans. What’s not to like there?”
While tamales are No. 1 on her menu, other products include sweet potato enchiladas, quesadillas, vegan tacos, tortillas from rice and garbanzo bean flour, wraps, a super burrito, and quinoa burgers. “I also make a good curry from scratch and because I personally love spices, I make super spicy salsas that are so hot few people can eat them.” The hard-working chef offers a catering menu for groups of five to 50, working with clients to prepare their favorite dishes.
Look for a Tumerico food cart on the patio of Revolutionary Grounds coffee shop on Fourth Avenue every Friday and Saturday evening starting in November. “It’s like a big hot dog cart that doesn’t sell hot dogs, not even vegan ones,” she says.
“Good food requires good ingredients, hard work, patience, and love, and I think my cooking includes all of those.”
Tumerico. 520.270.2055. Facebook.com/Tumerico.Tumerico.
Lee Allen likes to see what’s growing in other people’s gardens.