Laja | Valle de Guadalupe, MX
Growing up in the border town of Tijuana, Jair Téllez was raised in a melting pot of combined American and Mexican influences and as a result he often struggled to identify with his cultural roots. In 1999 he bought a piece of land in Valle de Guadalupe (otherwise known as the middle of nowhere) and set out to invent a cultural and culinary identity that would be unique to his self, and Laja was born. Acknowledging the decision as one that was more impulsive than rational, Téllez spent the first years suffering the limitations of the remote settings, and it would take years before the adversity of the region began to transpire in his favour. Today, Laja is an international success armed with a healthy manifest of clientele who are more than happy to make the special journey and celebrate destination dining at its finest.
Téllez began his professional training at the French Culinary Institute, which led to an apprenticeship at Daniel,where he stayed and worked for one year. He returned to México from New York, and while garnering success at Laja he was presented with the opportunity to open a restaurant in México City. Drawn to the city and a new set of challenges, Téllez began working with restaurant owner Gabriela Cámara to open MeroToro in 2008. Inspired by the setting of both the rugged naturalism of Laja and the slick metropolis of MeroToro, Téllez embraces the polarity of the situation and maintains his identity as the sum of its parts.