Traveling Chef Hits the Road

Making a pit-stop in Todos Santos along the way
BY: CATHY WATKINS

One afternoon at La Esquina restaurant, on the backside of Todos Santos, a young man was spotted sharpening knives behind the bar. He wasn’t a new employee; he was just there to sharpen the restaurant’s knives. The man, who calls himself Truck, is a traveling chef. He carries his own cast iron pans, a few utensils, and his knife-sharpening tools.

Before coming down to Todos Santos, he had been working with the Hupa Nation in California. Within 30 days, he helped them to set up a more efficient kitchen and taught them about growing greens and grains. While working with the tribe, he learned more about spirituality, the earth and nature.

Then, he had a calling to go to North Dakota. When prompted this calling? He didn’t have a specific reason, but said adamantly, “I had an extreme feeling that I needed to be in North Dakota.”

In North Dakota, he helped the Native Americans at Standing Rock Reservation protest the Excel pipeline. Being the chef he is, he also taught the tribe about cooking and starter dough. Starter dough is a yeast culture made from whole-grain flour, which is then fed with all-purpose flour. It takes about a week to develop a starter for bread. Once the dough is ready, a portion of the starter is set aside for future use so cooks can make bread dough over and over again without having to start over from scratch (hence the name).

So, what brought Truck to Todos Santos? It’s the usual scenario. Truck met a woman at Standing Rock and she had land down here. She invited him to come to Baja, and he thought, why not? It’s certainly warmer here.

Once in Baja, the bread-making tradition continued. He brought the starter dough with him, along with 100 pounds of dried greens and a few grains such as buckwheat and wheat berries to add to the starter dough. He shared the starter dough with friends he met here. 

The traveling chef has moved on, so you can’t sample his cooking, but you can probably find some of his starter dough if you ask around town. He didn’t stay here very long before moving on to Arizona. But, you ask, what about the girl? Well, she lives in Arizona, and he went with her, of course.