SAN ANTONIO - Destiny started in the kitchen for Carlos Gallardo. His professional journey has kept him in the same place but not the same position. He went from restaurant employee to business owner five years ago.
"I didn't choose but it chose me," Gallardo said.
Actually, the 36-year-old father of three did make some choices early in life.
Gallardo got his initial inspiration to cook from his aunt in Mexico. His childhood portions of her food propelled him at age 12 into the kitchen of a restaurant as a dishwasher. The atmosphere was contagious.
"Whenever I see the cooks cooking and all of that I always wanted to be a part of that," Gallardo said.
He started to cook and hasn't stopped. At the intersection of food and generosity, he opened up his first food truck five years ago. Gallardo was working at another restaurant when a customer (soon-to-be friend) made an offer too good to refuse.
"He asked me wouldn't you like to open your own restaurant," Gallardo recalled. "And, I tell him yes but that would cost a lot of money. Maybe I should start with a food truck."
The man gave Gallardo $10,000. He and wife Evie opened Cilantro Mexican Fusion Food Truck. He paid back his investor in two years.
The business rolls around in a small bus custom fitted for their needs. Not graphically wrapped yet, 'Shorty bus' is on the side and front.
"Some people call it---Oh the shorty bus---but it's not us. It's Cilantro," Gallardo said.
The menu is simple. Six items tops which are primarily Mex-American. It features everything from mini tacos to a supreme burrito.
Neighborhood Eats sampled three items off of Gallardo's grill starting with the Popeye's wrap: Chunks of chicken breast, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, spinach and a homemade jalapeno sauce. Que Rico!
The enormous Mexican Burger was next on the sampler. The burger is topped with white cheese, ham, sliced avocado, jalapenos and the trimmings. Que Rico!
Gallardo finished the taste test with mini tacos. The mini treats come with your choice of meat (Al pastor, chicken fajitas, etc.,). We selected his award-winning barbacoa. Delicious!
His dream is to move into his own restaurant. He joked about his ready made staff which includes his daughters 12, 5 and 10 months old. Of course, his wife is right by his side. And, there's another baby on the way.
That's this week's Neighborhood Eats. If you have a suggestion for Marvin send him an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it to the KENS 5 Facebook page. #KENS5EATS
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