Claudia Sandoval, left, sits at the Pepper Pot in Hatch, where she tried the famous Hatch green chile. (Courtesy of Discovery+)
Claudia Sandoval left her heart in Hatch.
The acclaimed chef brought her series, “Taste of the Border” to Hatch and Las Cruces for an episode last year.
The series is currently airing on Discovery+.
Through her series, Sandoval is on a mission as she traverses the US-Mexico border, exploring the diverse culinary landscape of often-overlooked border towns.
“When you hear about the border, our minds often go to the political divide,” Sandoval says. “There are borders that separate us. What I wanted to show with the series is that food makes it all borderless.”
Claudia Sandoval visits Lujan Bakery as part of her series, “Taste of the Border.” (Courtesy of Discovery+)
Sandoval says with the country divided, food remains the unifier.
Her trip to New Mexico was her first and she was immediately in love.
“I left my heart in Hatch and I was literally having this conversation with my mom,” she says. “I told her that we have to come back for the Hatch Chile Festival.”
Sandoval’s family owns a poblano pepper farm in Mexico.
Being in Hatch for the four days during filming brought plenty of emotions for Sandoval.
“To see where our food comes from, it’s amazing,” she says. “With the Hatch green chile, you find it a certain time of the year. I got to see them roasted and instantly the smell of my childhood came back.”
Sandoval visited Grajeda Farms in Hatch, where she sees first-hand how the chile is harvested.
“I’m still amazed that there aren’t machines used to harvest,” she says. “I learned a lot more about Chile while down there.”
During the episode, she also visited The Pepper Pot, where she had a green chile relleno and a green chile cheeseburger.
“I had the Hatch chile relleno, and of course, it was kind of spicy. Where I live, we get Anaheim peppers. I’m not joking. A month or two, we have Hatch chiles. We get them seasonally. I literally came back home and went to Sprouts and there was Hatch chiles. I totally made chile rellenos.”
Also in the episode, Sandoval travels south to Las Cruces, where she visits Lujan Bakery.
There she tries empanadas and the biscochito.
“New Mexico is the first state to have a state cookie,” she says. “It was so good to taste. The flavor on it was perfection.”
Sandoval is looking forward to a return trip to New Mexico so she can get her chile fix.
“New Mexicans are so lucky to have the chile so readily available,” Sandoval says. “I think because it’s so close, many people don’t realize how lucky they are.”
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