All five of Jorge Saldana’s senses can still evoke his mother’s cooking for his nine siblings in his childhood kitchen in Guadalajara, Mexico. Rising in the air, the scent of fresh cilantro – pulled into pieces, not chopped to release its truest flavor – smashed garlic, coarsely cut onions and just ripe tomatoes still conjure delicious memories of home.
Providing the foundation for countless beloved recipes he shares in his restaurants and over the counter products sold in stores everywhere, Jorge believes that fresh and clean food is the best food, and the best food not only tastes good, but has the power to make you feel good. His passion for authentic Mexican cooking made with fresh and local ingredients has been at the center of his farm-to-table philosophy since the beginning.
Bringing with him his inborn love of authentic Mexican cooking, Jorge moved to California and opened his first restaurant, Cancun Sabor Mexicano, in downtown Berkeley in the early 1990s. As a pioneer of simple, natural, and healthy Mexican food, he offered fresh and authentic, traditional favorites that brought out loyal customers in droves. Soon, Jorge opened Tlaloc Sabor Mexicano in the San Francisco Financial District. In those earlier years, despite the pressure to process food and used canned goods to bring general costs down, he continued to embrace the same values he was raised with, never abandoning his core beliefs that farm-to-table food is not only the best tasting, but the best for your health and the health of the environment.
Jorge’s radical commitment to serving food that not only nourishes your body, but feeds your soul, starts at his Guerneville farm, Sabor Mexicano Farm. An agricultural paradise located in the heart of a protected expanse in Sonoma County, safely ensconced from any pesticides used or other harmful chemicals that can be spread from surrounding farms, his 130 acre farm basks in the California sun across the ridge and rests in its tree-lined shade along its valley. Fully operational, the farm itself grows produce for all of Sabor Mexicano restaurants as well as the brand’s food products such as their fresh salsas and homemade corn chips. Rows of all different varieties of rich tomatoes and crisp peppers are organically grown to perfection, as well as cucumbers, squashes, watermelon, cilantro, purslane, broccoli, spinach, corn, apples, cabbage and much more, all carefully cultivated with no GMOs, pesticides or harmful chemicals.
In 2011 Jorge created Sabor Mexicano Foods in response to his customers continued requests to sell his signature fresh salsas and handmade corn tortilla chips to go and in stores. Hands on with everything, each new product starts in Jorge’s kitchen in Guerneville. Meeting first the standards of his own paladar, or palate, it’s then presented to his family for approval, and if it passes their test, then it goes to the restaurants and if the customers fall in love, then a part of the Sabor Mexicano Foods product line it will become. Never compromising on the integrity of his packaged foods, Sabor Mexicano continues to grow, introducing authentic, all-natural Mexican products made by hand, with love, and selling goods in markets all over California. Explore the list of the exciting SMF growing product line here.
As Sabor Mexicano Foods continues to grow, Jorge strives to reach new communities to offer the delight of authentic, simple, fresh, flavorful and healthy Mexican food. Ever true to his mission, he finds true joy in sharing food he knows is not only delicious, but that cares for its consumer the way it cares for the environment.