I interviewed TaMolly's COO Bob Strate this week to talk about what goes on back in the TaMolly’s kitchens. We sometimes hear from guests who are skeptical about our practices, but the reality is we have so much to be proud of behind our kitchen walls. Find out more in the story below!
COO Bob Strate expected he would be among the first to arrive at the TaMolly’s in Paris, Texas last week at 7:30 in the morning. He had a box of fresh donuts riding shotgun in his truck, and he was looking forward to surprising the team there with a breakfast treat. However, he quickly realized he was late by TaMolly’s of Paris standards, and in fact he was the last one to walk in the kitchen door that morning.
“Everyone was already hard at work in their positions chopping vegetables, simmering beef and chicken in large kettles, frying chips for lunch, and all with the precision of a fine-tuned orchestra,” Bob said. “We always brag on the fresh ingredients, but it’s the cooks that make the magic.”
One job in particular takes many years of training and is considered to be one of the toughest jobs in the restaurant, and that’s the job of a Hot Prep Cook. More specifically, Bob says preparing our re-fried rice is "truly an art that is done only by seasoned cooks who have proven they have a passion for the very best." It’s every bit as difficult as baking the perfect loaf of bread, or the perfect pie crust that only comes after years of effort, according to Bob.
The cooks make the magic, but it all starts with giving them the right tools. In our case, these tools are the ingredients we choose to use every day. Bob is responsible for buying all of the ingredients for TaMolly’s 10 locations, and he always jumps at an opportunity to explain just how seriously we take these choices.
"We have never traded down on our quality of ingredients, even when prices get high," Bob says. The healthiest oils for frying, fresh squeezed lemons in our sauces, real daisy sour cream and aged cheeses are just a few that have stood our tests of time and quality. He says, "It really begins with the decision to use only natural ingredients rather than the cheaper way: using chemical additives and preservatives in our tortillas and other ingredients."
It’s this early morning work in the kitchen that allows us to serve up your Tex-Mex dishes with such speed and precision every day. It's not food from a bag or a can, but a true labor of love sent out from our kitchens to your table.
So what’s Bob’s response to those who claim TaMolly’s queso comes from a can? “I wish!” He says this family favorite is one of the most difficult sauces to prepare. He actually had a family member ask him years ago to share the recipe for TaMolly’s Chili con Queso. When he showed them the recipe sheet that was two pages long with 19 ingredients, they decided they’d just keep letting TaMolly’s do to the cooking for that one! “It’s not a can of nacho cheese with peppers added,” Bob says. “It’s years of practice and hours of work in every batch, made fresh every single day.”
As Bob looked around with pride that morning in the kitchen, he realized most of the team members he saw there had been with the TaMolly’s company for over 20 years. In fact, the Paris, Texas restaurant celebrated their 25th anniversary this year! It was one of TaMolly’s very first locations, and Bob was there when they first opened their doors. Seeing these dedicated team members taking pride in doing their part to keep the tradition of excellence alive for the next generation is what continues to make him proud to work along side them today.
So next time you come see us, remember the hours of work and years of research that have gone into what you see on the plate in front of you. Maybe even take a peek behind the kitchen door someday if you’re lucky, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the buzz of passion and precision that plays such an important part in making TaMolly’s what you know and love.