El Chile Toreado may mean “The Fighting Chiles”, using the Spanish word for “bullfighting” to liken this iconic Santa Fe food truck’s signature ultra-spicy jalapeños to the fiery, red-hot heat of a charging bull, but its story is one of passion, perseverance, hard work, tradition, good food, and most importantly, family.
Luis Medina first came to the United States 30 years ago, leaving his wife Celia and two children Berenice and Jonathan behind in Mexico while he worked odd-jobs in Los Angeles to save for his family to come join him so they could have a better future. Finally finding his calling in foodservice working a hot dog cart, Medina’s family followed him to the States, where Luis’ hot dog business continued to grow.
After a brief stint back in Mexico, the Medinas moved to Santa Fe in 2003. Feeling at home in the City Different’s small-town atmosphere, Luis saw a chance to open a food cart where they could prepare classic family recipes with New Mexican flair, bringing together their love of authentic Mexican food with their love for people.
The result was El Chile Toreado, which for nearly twenty years has been a beloved part of the local food scene, earning awards and write-ups in the Santa Fe Reporter, the New Mexican, and Edible Santa Fe. Together, the whole family (including daughter Berenice, who attended Le Cordon Bleu and now uses her culinary expertise to help the family business) prepares authentic, heart-warming meals that honor traditional Mexican flavors and ingredients, bringing the tastes of their kitchen to their loyal (and hungry) customers.