We had the good fortune of connecting with Edwin Sandoval and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Edwin, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
Xatrucho has always kept the Latino community in mind from day one. Our goal is to showcase Latin inspired cuisine that is based in classic cooking techniques with emphasis on Latin flavor profiles. We aim to bring a sense of pride to our cuisine as it’s always been regarded and expected to be inexpensive as if we didn’t take a careful, meticulous and creative approach like those of French and Italian cooking. We work very closely with multiple organizations here in Denver and around the U.S to help in any form we can, recently we have been working with a non profit from the east coast raising funds to provide Honduran healthcare professionals with PPE during these covid times. For the past five years we have worked with a non profit in Westwood Denver providing cooking classes to low income kids, raising funds for their urban farm and business incubator. We have engraved ourselves in out Latino community with hopes of inspiring people to pursue their creative dreams while making a difference in the lives of others.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It took me a very long time to separate myself from the rest of the pack of chefs that “lead” the food industry in Denver. My approach changed when i started to think about how techniques and skills had to be passed down from generation of chefs to the next but at the root of it all were creative cooks that decided to take it upon themselves to develop those techniques and skills. That thought allowed me to think about was to develop my own style and techniques to showcase my culture and cuisine. Professionally i have been able to get where i am purely by developing my own lane and paying as little attention as possible to the things others are doing. I wanted to be my own chef and my own person and not be too concerned about how cool others felt they were being. I wanted to be cool to me. Having that mindset hasn’t been easy as its literally against the grain when compared to what other cooks are doing in this city. Most want to work and kiss ass to the “best” chefs in town, for me i took the long road and taught myself what i wanted to learn as its not within my nature to bend over backwards for a name on my resume. I’ve leaned that it is OK to make mistakes, my cooking approach now is to make all the mistakes on the first trial. I learn better by doing things backwards. My brand is the vehicle that allows me to drive my thoughts and ideas into reality, my segue way from vision to tangible product.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love coffee so we would have to start at Federal coffee which is owned by a Latina. From there we would have to head to the mountains and hike or rent some mountain bikes from evo on south Broadway. I would definitely treat them to any of the amazing Latin based restaurants on south Federal. We would very likely hit up any of the concepts owned by chef Dana, whether its Super mega bien or Work & class and then make our way to Cheluna brewery in Stanley market an then hit up Honduras breeze for some baleadas to soak up the beer. We would finish the day with dessert from Cultura Craft Chocolate in Westwood Denver…. chocolate covered mangoes are something else.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the speeches and teachings of the former minister Malcolm X and his alike who were taught by the honorable Elijah Muhammad. I find that their teachings in their time are still very relevant to people of color to this day. Not to say i completely agree with it all but as a person who is able to make decision on it’s own, i been able to pick apart the topics that i can relate to. I find that Malcolm X’s work and dedication to the liberation of the dark nations of the world can still be felt to this day.