THE ART OF QUALITY
When it comes to the community events we produce, it is no secret that we are passionate about providing a space for the community to connect with local businesses in the region. We not only love providing a platform for businesses to showcase their craft, but also love hearing their personal stories. Today, we had a chance to catch up with Bobby Estacio of Toro Tamales to discuss how he adds value to street food, his work, and the community.
R: We hear that you were a chef at Mikuni’s for a long time. You’ve even won awards for making sushi. Why the switch to Tamales?
B: I started making tamales as a way to fundraise for my sons high school field trip. After I reached the goal, people were hitting me up still. So, I wanted to figure out the next steps because I wanted to take it to the next level.
R: Tamales have a very unique process. Do you equate the success you’ve had in Tamales to the sushi making process?
B: It’s really more about the handcrafted process. It’s like molding clay. If you touch it the wrong way, it might not come out the right way. Tamales have been something indigenous to this land in general, it was a traveling mans food thousands of years ago, so it’s cool to keep the history in tact with tamales and not loose the essence of the culture and being authentic to it.
R: When it comes down to it, what is that one thing that you feel separates Toro Tamales from the rest?
B: To me, it’s about the product, there’s no fooling anybody when it comes down to it, especially in Sacramento. People know their stuff. Also, these days, authenticity is rare. There is value missing in society. I knew I could provide a value at street level with street food.
R: Let’s talk aspirations. What would be one of your ultimate goals with Toro Tamales?
B: One of my ultimate goals is to expose my product to other parts of the country or other parts of the state through distribution.
R: What about Sacramento inspires you right now?
B: I’ve been a Sacramento resident for over 9/10s of my life. I believe in this community. I think that our community is starting to thrive and it’s only the beginning. I want to be a part of the life of this city and maybe do something else that no one is doing.
B: For GATHER, I will be creating more vegan and vegetarian options that everyone can enjoy. I want to work with either local or products that are vegetarian ingredients. Avocados are in season right now, so you will see me do a lot with that on the menu as well.
R: GATHER is all about a unique vibe where music and food meet. What similarities do you see between music and food. How do you use the two together?
B: Music and food have a lot of similarities. There are no boundaries, and at the end of the day, people want to feel your soul. Being self employed, I do a lot of work by myself and music is a motivator. When I’m cooking I love to listen to music. For me, it is a part of it. When I’m making my creations, it inspires me. It creates an atmosphere along with the food.
R: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone that is looking to start their own business in Sacramento?
B: If you want to be a legitimate business, which is what I was trying to do, then you have to look into and educate yourself to see what it takes to get to the next level. It doesn’t just happen on its own, it’s all about timing.
Make sure to catch Toro Tamales at upcoming Unseen Heroes events like GATHER. GATHER in Oak Park will kick off on Thursday May 12th, 2016. It will be held every second Thursday of the month (May-October) from 5 pm – 9 pm. Inspired by warm California nights and the emerging trend of the food culture, GATHER is a take on the city as a dining table. GATHER is produced and professionally managed by Unseen Heroes.