I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I went to Arizona State University, and graduated with a Major in Business Management in 2009. I had my “aha” business moment when I was eating enchiladas on a family vacation trip in Lake Tahoe. During college I worked on the business plan for an enchilada shop. I was the biggest flawed candidate you could find coming out of college and trying to open a restaurant. I had no money, restaurant experience, chef abilities, I was too young, and I wanted to open an enchilada shop called “Gadzooks”. An industry veteran gave me “less than a 1% chance”. I had no chance.
What seemed like the worst thing at the time, I moved back in with mom and dad when I was 23. Luckily for me, they were my biggest supporters. As long as I had them encouraging me, all the negativity did not matter. So, I would spend 10-12 hours in the kitchen for many days over the course of two years learning how to cook. I didn’t know how to make a cut of meat shred. I didn’t know what happened to a tomatillo if I put it in the oven. Over this trial and error marathon, I learned how to cook. One of the coolest things I have ever learned is how to braise meat. I feel so lucky to understand what different pots, liquid levels, heats, cuts, and ovens will do to a braising cycle. I learned how to make a silky smooth red sauce- made with roasted guajillo and ancho chiles. I learned what little subtleties certain cooking methods had on differenr ingredients.
I found a bank that was willing to proceed on a loan with me in 2012, and we opened Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup in 2013. We will be open for 2 years the first week of April.
Every single item on our menu at Gadzooks has been thought out and created to have it’s own unique flavor, texture, and color. With this mindset, we are able to build really incredible enchiladas that are complex to your mouth, eyes, and nose. They are layered with flavors and textures that I have not experienced at another Mexican restaurant. That is how we are “Redefining the Enchilada”