Food trucks are the rage these days. Unlike the basic vehicles that used to be called “roach coaches,” the new breed features a variety of cuisines and often a culinary-school trained chef behind the stove. Even the self-taught ones are often passionate about food and what they are doing. Bang Bite, on the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta (opposite Kaune’s Market), is the latest food truck to open in Santa Fe.
Meet Chef Enrique Guerrero
Bang Bite, a bright orange trailer with a shiny stainless interior, is owned and operated by Chef Enrique Guerrero. He brings an extensive culinary background to his latest venture. His kitchen credits read like a who’s who of the upscale American dining scene. He worked for Chef Daniel Boulud at NYC’s legendary Le Cirque, Chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, Chef Michael Chiarello’s Tra Vigne and with Cher Julian Serrano both at Masa in San Francisco and Picasso at Bellagio Las Vegas. The now accomplished chef, who started his career washing dishes at Masa, sites Serrano as his mentor. “He showed me something very easy,” Guerrero said, “to respect the food.” Guerrero can’t even remember when he got interested in food. It’s a love that’s been with him since he was a young boy eating his great-great grandmother’s cooking. While a lot of his training has been on the job, in the mid-80s he attended the California /Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He also spent some time at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. When asked about his cooking style, Guerrero said “It’s honest, it’s classical, it’s natural, it’s simple and it comes from my heart.”
Guerrero and his family moved to Albuquerque in late 1999 where he was the Executive Chef at the popular Scalo. In 2002 he moved to Santa Fe to take the post of Exec at La Casa Sena. He also did a stint at La Mancha at the now defunct Galisteo Inn. In 2006, under his tenure, the restaurant was named one of the country’s 26 “Hottest Tables” by Condé Nast Traveler and garnered a place on Bon Appetit’s top 10 culinary destinations in the U.S.. In the fall of 2008 he opened the casual Mangiamo Pronto in Santa Fe and later a Denver, Colorado branch. He sold the cafés two years ago and has been busy doing restaurant consulting around the U.S. since then. But, this busy, hands-on guy had a dream for over 20 years. He wanted a food truck and last year he bought one. It sat there until the end of this summer when he decided to actually open it. From the day he decided to really do it until the day Bang Bite opened its doors was an amazingly short five weeks.
A bit about Bang Bite
Bang Bite doesn’t have a theme. It will be offering seasonal menus and daily specials and what its owner calls “great food.” The menu ranges from soups to burgers, to tacos to fresh pasta, to seafood. Basically, the truck will offer what the chef feels like cooking. It’s a good recipe to stay fresh and passionate about what you are doing. Because Bang Bite is on wheels, Guerrero will bring it to you and cater your event. He wants to start offering take-out dinners and will be cooking up fried turkey to go this Thanksgiving. He’s also working on a Christmas Eve menu. There’s more information on his website.. Bang Bite is a welcome addition to the Santa Fe food truck scene. Stop by and give it a try. Like us, you’ll want to go back.
If you go
Bang Bite is parked at 502 Old Santa Fe Trail Hours: Monday through Friday. Call for hours, they seem to vary. You can call ahead to order (505) 469-2345. As they get busy, have your order ready. The menus are online.
Authors’ note: Steve was shopping at Kaune’s Market one day and noticed Bang Bite before it opened . He went to check it out for our readers and he and Enrique hit it off and we went to grab some lunch on opening day. When we went to pay, he picked up the tab. The food was great and we’ll go back. His generosity did not affect this post in any way.
You can make Enrique Guerrero’s green chile cheeseburgers at home after you watch this video of Guerrero and TV chef Bobby Flay shot at Santa Fe’s La Casa Sena.