This week, our first in a series of shows from Austin, Texas, starting off with Fermín Núñez, executive chef of East Austin’s Mexican-inspired restaurant Suerte and Eater Austin’s 2018 chef of the year.
As you’ll soon discover, Chef Fermín is a man with a mission: To create the perfect tortilla, every single day. As he recently told Eater, “It takes a village to make tortillas every night, and the foundation of Mexican food is masa.” The process starts with one of the restaurant’s staffers bringing a pot of water to a simmer, adding the necessary ingredients including the masa, cooking it to a certain level of doneness, and then letting it sit overnight. Another employee comes in the next morning to rinse the masa, the source of the day’s tortillas.
It’s this attention to detail that has made Suerte one of the most beloved new restaurants in Austin, and Chef Fermín’s love of music is woven into each part of the day, from the making of the masa, to prepping his mise en place, to the entire staff stopping at 4pm to clap to a cover of "Achy Breaky Heart" in Spanish and prepare for the night of service ahead.
Speaking of service, Suerte closed for a few weeks back in early March to regroup and recalibrate as the city of Austin sheltered in place because of the new coronavirus. In mid-March they reemerged with the Suerte Taqueria, providing highlights from Suerte’s menu for takeout — a highlight being the Suadero Taco Meal kit for families to enjoy at home. The kit includes all the ingredients needed to prepare Chef Fermín’s signature dish at home, including confit brisket, avocado crudo, black magic oil, signature tortillas, and sides. In addition to cooking instructions, they rounded out the experience with a video of Chef Fermín cooking along in his own kitchen, and a link to his favorite playlist in an attempt to bring the full Suerte experience into your kitchen.
The kits are still available, so if you live in the Austin area and need some high quality sustenance, head over to Suertetx.com.