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El Jardín Opens in Liberty Station

Former Top Chef contestant and Bracero alum Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins showcases classic Mexican cuisine


Photo by Paul Body

Some of Mexico’s oldest recipes are being lost. Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins has met many of the women attempting to preserve them—during childhood visits to her aunt’s restaurant in Guadalajara, and more recently, while filming as a contestant on Top Chef México. She’s aiming to keep them alive at El Jardín, a partnership with the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group (Breakfast Republic). After her James Beard Award–nominated run at the short-lived Bracero, this one’s personal.

Along with dishes like Sonoran scallop aguachile and grilled bone marrow, she’s using a starter for mole from Puebla—the sauce’s legendary birthplace—and her aunt’s age-old recipe for mole poblano with enchiladas, as well as 40 ingredients from south of the border, like the pasilla mixe chile. The on-site garden of rare fruits and vegetables will feed part of her then-and-now Mexican menu, with top bartender Christian Siglin handling the agave spirits. What once was lost, now is found.

2885 Perry Road, Point Loma 


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