Caritas Community Center & Cafe (formerly Caritas Village) has one simple mission: to provide quality food to the public, regardless of their ability to pay. To help carry out that mission, former head chef Spencer McMillin is bringing Jonathan Magallanes of Las Tortugas on as the featured chef in this month's chef partnership dinner to share his Mexican delights.
"Spencer came into my restaurant and became a regular, and we became friends," says Magallanes. "Spencer could ask me to do anything, and I would do it. He approached me and said he'd love to cook together. This was a no-brainer. I've known about Caritas for a while, so I think it's just a perfect opportunity to cook some really good food."
- Michael Donahue
- Jonathan Magallanes
Magallanes has spent much of his life living in both Memphis and Mexico City, and he takes culinary influences from both cities to create his own unique spins on classic Mexican dishes, like his tacos al pastor, which traditionally features a sweet and spicy combination of red chile pork and pineapple.
"I like to use juicy pomegranate in place of the pineapple and then use that with fried pork belly," he says. "It's marinated in sour orange, black pepper, and cinnamon. Then, instead of using cilantro, I might use chopped mint. That's sort of a little nod to the pastor in my opinion."
Magallanes is excited to concoct something equally delicious and unique for the dinner for Caritas.
"It's an absolute honor and a privilege to be part of the dinner," he says. "My main philosophy as a chef and a restaurateur is that feeding people is a privilege, period."
Caritas Chef Partnership Dinner featuring Jonathan Magallanes, Caritas Community Center & Cafe, Thursday, February 27th, 6:30-9 p.m., $56/person (not including gratuity).