Whenever senior Juan Montano has free time, he steps foot into the kitchen and eagerly grabs multiple ingredients to cook up something delicious. Typically, he defaults to making his signature dish, tamales. Once prepared he shares them with family and friends, and he even sells the extras for profit.
Tamales originated from Mesoamerica and are made from a corn based dough with various meats, beans, salsas and cheeses mixed in and then wrapped in a corn husk. The dish is typically served around the holidays but also eaten year round.
“My passion for tamale making started about two years ago after watching my mom over the years,” Montano said
After gaining lots of advice from his mom and relatives, he has developed the skill to create the perfect tamale to share with the community.
“It started as a gift to our teachers and then everyone started asking for tamales, so we turned it into a business,” Montano said.
His peers love his signature tamales. “It’s like a party in your mouth. There were four different flavors, and each was very delicious,” senior Izzy Grieme said.
Montano makes green salsa chicken, red salsa chicken, red salsa pork, and rajas (meat strips) con queso (with cheese).
Senior Ljosha Kremliovsky enjoyed his pork tamale the most. “They were delicious. The meat was cooked to perfection. We love Juan’s authentic Mexican cuisine,” Kremliovsky said.
Props to this talented and hardworking titan who was able to take a hobby that he loves and make a profit out of it. “My favorite part of my business is being able to sell something that I worked hard to make,” Montano said.
Montano plans to continue his tamale business over the next few years, and even possibly attend culinary school to enhance his cooking skills. So, if you are ever craving a tamale, senior Juan Montano is the chef for you.