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Posts Tagged ‘Wes Holton’

Jacques Tacos

Executive chef comes home; operates gourmet taco truck

By John Q. Horn

Hot, delicious tacos are a wonderful thing. Not having to walk any farther than the parking lot of your work place to enjoy one is even better.

Wesley Holton makes such toothsome dreams possible for RDW readers. Holton is the owner, operator and chef behind Jacques Tacos, a gourmet taco truck making the rounds in metro Detroit.

Holton uses unconventional main ingredients (by some taco enthusiasts’ standards) to create vibrant, delicious taco-inspired fare for hungry customers.

“The taco is a good vehicle for anything you wanted to create,” he says. “I take a lot of time with my specials and flavor combinations.”

And that patience and creativity is generating some of the best tacos around, truck or no truck. Who else is going to serve you up some fresh tacos with braised short ribs (prepared en daube-style with bacon, orange zest, fennel and coriander)? Or a lamb taco paired with goat cheese mousse, pickled radish and candied pistachios and grapes?

“Most taco meat is random cuts and chopped up; for me, it’s too dry,” he says. “This meat pulls apart and melts in your mouth.”

And for first-time visitors who come to the truck expecting greasy ground beef in a corn shell with some cheap, dry, shredded cheese?

“Just try it,” he says. “Just get one. I’ve had people come up who are leery, get just one, sit in their car and eat it, and then come back and get another.”

Holton’s resume is no joke. A Schoolcraft graduate, he has worked high-end kitchens in New York City, Palm Beach, Fla., and most recently, as executive chef at the Wynn in Las Vegas. He is also Michelin-rated (a rating system recognizing elite chefs worldwide).

An executive chef moving here to operate a taco truck? That sounds a little like Dale Earnhardt Jr. moving to downtown Detroit to become a cabbie. What gives?

“Family,” he says. “I got sick of moving from place to place; seeing nieces and nephews grow up and you’re not a part of the family anymore; talking to all of them on the phone on Christmas while you’re working.”

Via Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth, popularity began to spread, after the mid-summer 2010 launch. Business has remained steady, that is, until the snow started flying.

“In the summer, obviously, more people are out,” Holton says. “I’m optimistic. We had a really good start and I’m looking to spring when the weather lets up a little bit.”

Another short-term goal is to expand evening hours. Presently, the Jacques Taco truck is available in afternoons. Holton is hoping to keep bar crowds nice and full after they’re done with a night on the town. Still, his vision remains long-term.

“I’d like to someday open a restaurant somewhere in the Detroit area,” he says. “This was a prelude to that; to get my foot in the door, make a name for myself and hopefully something takes off.”

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