Food Maker Q & A: Megan’s Take on Mexican
Megan Leon is a former Spring Epicurean Market vendor who hails from California. She has spent the past few years in Bangkok on her own personal food journey gathering experience at high end restaurants as well as catering and making market appearances. Here she describes her take on Mexican cuisine, her roots and how they’re one of the same.
Q: Who is La Gringa in Bkk?
A: La Gringa is a person and a little business that adores everything Mexican. The actual translation for La Gringa is foreign female. Although I’m half Mexican, I’ve always been called Gringa because of my light colored skin and because I grew up in Los Angeles. The story of La Gringa goes deeper than just a love of food. It’s my family, my upbringing, my travels and my passion. La Gringa is a girl who wants to make Mexican food as it should be. Not tex-mex, no burritos or nachos. Just simple Mexican dishes using the best ingredients such as a good chicken mole or fresh shrimp tostadas. La Gringa is a story waiting to be told through food.
Q: Who or what inspired your food?
A: My inspiration truly comes from my mother and my childhood. My mom is an amazing cook and family meals were so important to her. She would wake up at 4:30 each morning to make sure I had a decent breakfast, pack a five star lunch for school and come home after a long day at work and cook a full meal. My family is from Mexico so I would spend a lot of time there and it was the same with my grandmother. She would make fresh tortillas weekly and take me to the mercado to pick up fresh veggies and chillies and cheese. It was a dream for me.
Q: How would you describe the food you make?
A: My food is purely comfort food. I stick to my Mexican roots and try to make everything as authentic as possible. Of course with the culinary training I’ve had, I like to put a twist in some of my dishes but I believe that cooking simple foods with the best ingredients is key.
Q: What are you currently doing and where do you hope your food journey will take you?
A: I’m currently doing a stage at the restaurant Eat Me. I’m working on my skills as a chef and as a person in the cooking world. I’m hoping that all of this will one day lead to opening a small little place to serve the food I love to eat and cook.
Q: Who are some of your favourite food makers in Bangkok and why?
A: Bangkok is so diverse when it comes to food. It’s such an inspiring place to be in. There are so many wonderful food makers that it’s truly hard to choose but if I must it would be a few places. Bo.lan is one because they truly cook from the Thai heart using exceptional ingredients and making everything from scratch including the gorgeous curries. I love Twist juices for bringing something healthy yet delicious and refreshing to this Bangkok heat. Conkey’s bread is to die for and I wait patiently each month to stand in line and get a few loaves of the amazing bread. There is a food truck roaming around called Forkers who make simple but delicious pastas! Can I keep going???!? 😉
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring food makers looking to get a start in Bangkok?
A: My advice is don’t wait. If you have an idea, pursue it. Cook at home every day. Meet with other vendors and food makers. Hear their stories and dreams. Work with them, try new ingredients, mix the old with the new. Bangkok is full of hungry people who are itching to try something new or something they miss from back home. Passion is everything so let it be your guide!