LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)  —  Esquire Magazine named their top chef in the country and a local man gets the honors.

Ray Garcia’s two restaurants — Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria —  were also lauded as among the country’s best new eateries.

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Garcia spoke Wednesday to KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar about his passion for food and his new-found culinary celebrity.

People might be tempted to call Garcia crazy, she reported.

Garcia, a first time restaurant owner and LA native, decided to open not one but two downtown restaurants within 90 days of each other.

“I think it’s just my craziness,” Garcia says, “I’ve always been very driven, I’ve always been a hard worker. And I love a challenge.”

Humble, he still knows it’s a big deal to get that kind of recognition and so quickly.

“It’s crazy but such an honor,” he said, “that within one year we can get two restaurants off the ground and have them both recognized as some of the the best in the US and then receive that accolade.”

Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria both feature traditional Mexican fare, but many of the items also have an unexpected twist — like a beet torta or the clam and lardo (seasoned and cured pork fat) tacos.

He told Lazar he always cooks with his Mexican grandmother and her recipes in mind.

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“I think my cooking is a reflection of my childhood,” Garcia says, “what I personally ate in my home, in friends’ homes after school.”

After graduating from UCLA he had plans to go to law school and possible work for the FBI.

His life changed when he picked up a copy of “Cooking For Dummies.”

He decided to take the recipes a step further.

“I would try those recipes and try to make them better,” he says, matter-of-fact. “I’d wanna see what I didn’t like about them and adjust them and tweak them.”




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