Mexican food truck rolls into Vashon
By NATALIE JOHNSON
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter
December 8, 2011 · Updated 10:03 AM
A new dining option is turning heads and drawing small crowds south of Vashon town.
On Monday, Jorge Garnica quietly opened Zamorana, a food truck serving authentic Mexican fare six days a week in front of Sound Food.
Garnica, a Seattle chef who works at Kurtwood Farms and The Hardware Store Restaurant, said it's been dream of his to own a business.
“It's a crazy idea that I had,” Garnica said with a grin Tuesday after a busy day that brought constant business to the truck and lines at lunchtime.
“It's been busy,” he said. “Crazy, but good busy.”
Garnica, who is 32 and speaks with a thick Spanish accent, moved from Mexico to the Seattle area 15 years ago with his father and quickly discovered a love for cooking. He noted that only women were allowed in the kitchen in his hometown and said he's never taken a cooking class but grew his craft by working under more experience chefs. For the last dozen years Garnica has been a herdsman and cook at Kurtwood Farms, owned by well-known chef and author Kurt Timmermeister, and for the past several years he has also cooked part-time at The Hardware Store Restaurant.
Under Timmermeister, Garnica has prepared gourmet meals and even served stars such as Dave Matthews, Martha Stewart and Michael Pollan, a well-known local food advocate and author of “The Omnivore's Dilemma.”
Though he said he was excited to meet and have his photo taken with Stewart, Garnica was humble about having cooked for celebrities.
“I don't really look for big stars,” he said. “I just do my thing.”
Timmermeister himself was first in line when Zamorana opened on Monday and had nothing but praise for the food.
“It was outstanding. … There's an authenticity to it, which I like,” Timmermeister said.
Unlike some Mexican restaurants, which serve what Garnica calls Tex-Mex, or Americanized Mexican food, he will offer tacos, tortas and burritos similar to those that are made in his hometown of Zamorana — the inspiration for the business's name.
And though Vashon has seen several restaurants close their doors in recent years, some shortly after opening, Timmermesiter believes Zamorana offers something different than other Vashon restaurants and will be successful.
“I've had about 300 burritos at Thriftway,” he added with a laugh. “I'm ready for a new burrito.”
Garnica, who is keeping his other part-time jobs, says it's too soon to tell if Zamorana will continue to draw enough business to stay open. But he has high hopes for the endeavor, as he plans to eventually cater events and may bring the truck into town at times, perhaps for First Fridays.
“I'm doing my crazy dream right now,” he said. “I call it my crazy dream.”
Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter Natalie Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-463-9195.