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Tacos

This Is What It’s Like to Serve Tacos at Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s Party

Only in Los Angeles can Hollywood and taco culture collide the way it did on Oscar night when Chrissy Teigen and John Legend called upon the taquero powers of Boyle Heights’ own Mariscos Jalisco to cater their private viewing party.

L.A. Taco: How did this whole thing start?
Raul Ortega: It all started with a phone call that I didn’t answer. They traced my daughter’s phone number on the second truck (and she usually doesn’t work on Sundays), so they got a hold of her. She called to ask me if I could cater an event for somebody on the same day they called. I said, “no, that’s not possible.” We usually need days in advance so I can prepare. She informed the contact that we would not do it, but the contact insisted. My daughter called me back and told me, “they told me it is only for 10 people.” I responded, “even worse!” We don’t do less than 80 people per event and our minimum is about a $1,000 per event.

My daughter called them back to tell them and they said they would pay us that amount for just those 10 people!

They are very, very nice and normal people who just wanted to have some tacos, you know?

Are you fans of Chrissy Teigen or John Legend?
First of all, I didn’t know who this person even was but I saw my daughters trying hard to convince me to go. When they said they could pay me, I thought: Well, I don’t have to prepare a lot for that amount of people? We decided to go. They were waiting for us to get there and were very happy and excited to see us. Everybody came out when the truck arrived. We parked in their private garage and waited for them to ask us for their food.

I got to know them afterward. They are very nice people. John Legend even gave me some bottles of wine at the end. My daughters eventually told me that they are very famous. If I had all that money, I would do the same.

Maybe one day I’ll see them in Boyle Heights? I think they’ll call me back.

What was their first reaction to your tacos?
They were super, super, super happy. I heard the crunch of the tacos, of course. I see these kinds of expressions every time I see a new person coming to my truck. I see their faces and they love it. They got some tacos, took a bite, went inside, and then came back and got some more! They didn’t eat a lot but I can tell they enjoyed every bite that they took. Between everybody, they probably ate about 30 tacos and a few fish ceviche tostadas.

It was a big difference from another party I just catered where one guy ate eight tacos by himself. Some people just don’t stop eating and others don’t eat much but enjoy every bite, I guess.

What did this whole experience mean to you as a taquero?
They tracked us down because they saw “Ugly Delicious” and wanted some tacos — bad. It was fun and something special for both us and them. They are very, very nice and normal people who just wanted to have some tacos, you know?

Maybe one day I’ll see them in Boyle Heights? I think they’ll call me back.

Thank you for speaking with us.

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