Armed with multiple culinary degrees, Chef Antonio Marquez is putting his nearly 30 years of experience to good use at the helm of CINCO TACOS, Cocina & Tequila.
After two years of studying economics and becoming fluent in French, Marquez headed to Paris for culinary school. There he earned degrees at Le Pot au Feu and the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu.
Following his apprenticeship, Marquez returned to Mexico, where he worked and developed menus for restaurants across the country. Marquez partnered with Mario Letayf in 2003. Today they operate four restaurants in Monterrey, Mexico. “Texas and Mexico have a multi-layered special relationship. In restaurants, you see that in Tex-Mex and Southwestern Cuisine. It is a thrill to expose Dallas diners to the taste and color of Mexico in a way that adds to their tradition of enjoyment of Mexican culture.”
“At CINCO TACOS, Cocina & Tequila, we offer the real food of modern Mexico, a combination of Mexican heritage and modern techniques and ingredients.
This focus on authenticity brings with it dishes that don’t appear on most menus. “An example is ceviche, one of the most versatile dishes of Mexican cuisine. They vary from state to state and region to region. We offer a specialty section of ceviche to offer the Dallas diner a choice of flavors and combinations of this ancient creation.” Another delicious dish many diners aren’t familiar with is Chamorro, a specialty from central Mexico. “Slow-roasted pork shank cooked in barbecue pits, wood-fired ovens or even in holes in the ground, where charcoal and hot stones serve as low-temperature ovens. The result is a tender and delicious meat usually served with baked black or pinto beans.”
“I’ve cooked in Paris, I have cooked in Los Angeles, and, of course, my native Mexico,” says Chef Marquez, “but nothing gives me more pride than bringing the cuisine of today’s Mexico to Dallas and becoming part of the Dallas culinary community.”
CINCO TACOS, Cocina & Tequila is the first stateside venture for Mario Letayf, but the Monterrey native is no stranger to the restaurant business. Letayf has over 25 years of experience in owning and managing restaurants in Mexico.
Letayf’s background is in engineering and business, but it was a post-graduation trip to Europe that spurred his passion for restaurant ownership. After a two-month stay in Paris, Letayf was determined to learn how to make the crepes that sold so well in the city of lights.
La Bonne Crepe, inspired by these crepe shops, opened in Monterrey in 1990. The restaurant proved to be an incredible success, and Letayf opened three additional restaurants in Monterrey, Mexico. He partnered with Antonio Marquez, now the executive chef at LIVEFOOD Group, in 2003.
With success in Mexico firmly established, the restaurateur set his sights on a U.S. outpost.
“When I first began to visit friends in Dallas, my wife and I took advantage of the great selection of restaurants in the community.
“I noticed that the knowledgeable and experienced Dallas diner did not have the opportunity to enjoy the true food of modern Mexico that my family and our friends love back home.
CINCO TACOS, Cocina & Tequila was born through the desire to offer the Dallas diner the same experience of dining and service that their counterparts in Mexico know as central to their social life and interest in food.
“The restaurant is casual, contemporary, with respectful service and hospitality, allowing my partner Chef Antonio Marquez to showcase what is happening today in our native Mexico”.
“’Authentic’ is a word that is used everywhere in restaurants. There are great Tex-Mex and other Mexican restaurants in Dallas. But CINCO TACOS, Cocina & Tequila is a truly authentic Mexican restaurant. Our guests experience the same food and hospitality that we offer at our restaurants back home.”