Chef Eric Williams of Momocho
and El Carnicero
continues to employ and pay his staff by selling take-out food five days a week at both of his restaurants. He says that the pandemic continues to challenge him in ways that he never expected.
“It’s forcing me to learn new tricks and be creative,” he explains.
Two months ago, he and his team had the idea to create a line of frozen dinners. Rather than being a straightforward system of cooking and freezing foods, the process required a good deal of trial and error to pull off. Williams says it started with developing new recipes specifically for the freezer. The kitchen tested dozens and dozens of frozen meals in microwaves purchased specifically for the task. Then came tracking down appropriate packaging and creating labels with heating instructions.
All of the dishes are “cold-produced” in-house.
“The chile relleno was a no-brainer,” says Williams. “I’m a big fan of Taco Bell, so I brought back the Enchirito, which is an enchilada/burrito hybrid.”
Three version are available: pork carnitas, roasted chicken and machaca beef. Those braised meats get rolled into a flour tortilla along with cheese and onion rajitas before getting smothered in ranchero sauce. Also on the menu are a pair of rice bowls starring pork belly or butternut squash. All entrees come with cilantro rice and black beans.
Each frozen dinner is 16 ounces and priced at $10 (3/$25). To shoppers who will doubtless compare these prices to those that appear in the freezer section of their grocery store, Williams says, “The whole reason we’re doing this is to add a revenue stream. We’re a local restaurant employing local people and it's good stuff with no preservatives.”
The frozen dinners will be available for pick-up at both restaurants and can be ordered through the regular online portals and combined with hot food orders.
“That way you don’t have to leave your house every single night to get something to eat,” Williams adds.
Look for the frozen dinner options to pop up on the websites next week.