For Wendy Garcia, Tumerico is all about serving the community and healing through food. The Latin, vegan chef remembers growing up surrounded by food and family and so, when she opened her restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, it was that supportive feeling she wanted to recreate. “I really enjoy cooking for others,’ she said. “I came from a generation of ladies where cooking and taking care of their children and grandchildren was their way of life.”
Learning recipes from her farmer father and grandmother was how she learned to cook. “I’m the oldest and was always with my dad in the kitchen, helping to chop vegetables, making machaca and cleaning the dishes,” she said. “I didn’t like it then because I saw it as work, but it was those experiences of being in the kitchen with family cooking together that showed me how much they loved us.” She also learned the importance of relying on the land.
Chef Wendy, as she’s known, believes that the fresher the ingredients, the healthier the meal will be. She said that Tucson is full of great, local products that allow her to create wonderful, seasonal dishes for her customers. That’s why Tumerico’s menu changes daily, and features a chalkboard menu. Among the favorite items: Latin-inspired vegan options like potato tacos and mole enchiladas.
Just as important as fresh, local ingredients, Garcia said that while regular customers are crucial to her success – “We care for them, and they care for us!” – she also feels fortunate to have great employees, mostly women.
What also keeps her grounded is eating healthy, nutritious foods and practicing yoga. “Yoga is about taking care of your body and mind; food is important to yoga because it helps fuel [both],” she said. With that, she also believes that everything in moderation is also important to good health and quality of life.
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