7 min 23 sec

Nacho Average Tacos! Chef Puts Twist on Mexican Culinary Classics

A San Diego chef turns her weekend catering gig into a popular brick and mortar restaurant for visitors on both sides of the border.
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What It's About

A side hustle with a lot to taco bout!

Business Model
Skills Required
Recipe Development & Marketing
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Priscilla stressed the importance of authenticity with every dish she serves. “Add your originality and personality into everything you do.” She acknowledged how challenging the food industry is and how these factors have helped her when the chips are down.

But when asked if there was anything she’d do differently, Priscilla said, “I wouldn’t change a thing. Mistakes are good because you have an opportunity to learn from them.”

Fun Fact

In his book, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, Jeffery M. Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota, traced the origins of the humble taco back to silver mines in Mexico during the 18th century. In the mines, “taco” referred to the charges used to excavate ore, in the form of little pieces of paper they would wrap around gunpowder. The first “taco” references in an archive or dictionary were at the end of the 19th century and one of the first types of tacos was called "tacos de minero"—or miner’s tacos.

Notes from Chris

Episode 749
Priscilla Curiel is no stranger to the food industry. Both her parents have been running classic Mexican restaurants in Tijuana for over 30 years. It’s part of her upbringing.

A decade ago her family migrated north to Chula Vista, California, just across the border and near San Diego. They opened a restaurant called Talavera Azul. This combination of growing up in the business and jumping into work as a teenager gave her an insider’s glimpse into how the industry works.

A few years later, she started her own part-time catering business. As a single mom, she needed extra income to pay the bills. The new business helped. It was only on the weekends, but it gave her a place to exercise her culinary creativity and bring in some extra cash. It also allowed Priscilla was also making connections with members of the local restaurant industry.

She kept her startup costs low—just around $200 at first. This bought her enough for some basic ingredients and a table to prepare her food. At first, her catering brought in a few hundred dollars on the weekends. She kept at it, and by 2016, she was bringing in $10,000 on the side annually. Priscilla said she’d always save her money and reinvesting back into the business. She’s a firm believer in giving every dollar a job.

Even as a single mom and working two jobs, she kept saving. Before long, she had saved $20,000.

One day, she was selling her tacos outside a brewery when a customer liked them so much he agreed to help her set up her own brick and mortar restaurant. With the help of that perfect stranger and the money $20,000 she’d saved, Tuétano Taqueria was born.

Tuétano Taqueria has only been open for four months but is achieving $1,000 a day in sales. Margins are tight, but she’s off to a great start.

What’s next for Tuétano Taqueria? Priscilla would like to open a small chain of taquerias in her surrounding area and move her catering business under the umbrella of Tuétano. Her cooking has been described as “passionate, precise, soulful, and balanced.” It’s giving customers something to taco ‘bout.



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"In this industry, people tend to drop off when things don't go exactly to plan. But a good road is always going to be tough—hang in there! Remember, persistence always beats talent."
—Priscilla Curiel #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau