Have you ever tried a fresh, warm corn tortilla? There isn't anything like it. As a Spanish teacher who has travelled extensively in Mexico, Tortilleria Pachanga's Lynne Rowe has a deep appreciation for and knowledge of this Mexican staple. Her version is made with exclusively locally-grown, organic heritage Maine corn. Here at Fork, we enjoy them with some avocado, Plucked Fresh Salsa, and a yolky fried egg. It's a breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) of champions.
Lynne shared with us a little bit of her (interesting) work history, and the entrepreneurs that she has looked up to during her small business journey.
What was your first job?
I did bladder and bowel care for kids with Spina Bifida after my first year of college. I have a t-shirt that says “Bladder and Bowel Care ‘84.” I gave a good enema.
How did you get involved with food work?
My grandfather owned a diner, one of those diner cars, in MA. I started waiting tables in college, I had a little food business that I ran out of an Irish bar in Boston - I ran it like a concession within the bar. It was the early ‘90s, and nachos were big. I also made a Guinness beef stew.
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
I think it's making and creating something! I love that I was just with the farmer who grew the corn and we were unloading it together. I think being there from the point of growing [the corn], and then making an ancient product in a modern way, then creating wholesome food that families eat, that’s what motivates me. If it were the money I’d be out of here.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
Diane Kennedy, she’s sort of Mexico’s version of Julia Child. But there really are a lot. I think that Alison and Matt [of Standard Baking Company] have said things that I’ve held onto. Amado Ramirez Leyva, who owns Itanoni in Oaxaca, has been the most influential because he’s helping save corn and he helped me to source local corn here. His restaurant is Alice Waters’ favorite restaurant in the world!
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
We usually make a big salad with grilled chicken (or tortillas with refried beans and avocado!).
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
At my friends’ houses.