Born in the late fifties to Dominga Delgado Garcia of Southwest Detroit and immigrant Jesus Garcia of Mexico City, Mexico.
My love for restaurants started at a very young age. My mother worked in a restaurant as a waitress and would take me to work with her since I was in kindergarten and only went to school a half day. It was okay with the owners since they were family and knew it was difficult for my mom to have pay for a babysitter. I loved going to work with my mom. She and I were inseparable. Even today, if I walk to a restaurant where they are grilling greasy hamburgers ... the scent will take me back to that time and leave a smile on my face.
My father and uncle brought their family recipes from Mexico. Since my mother was a naturally talented cook and loved being in the kitchen, my father and uncle made it a point to teach her those family recipes. They yearned for those home-cooked meals that my grandmother would cook for them back home. My mother learned those recipes well and through the years created her own recipes from the basic skills that they taught her. She made everything from scratch. Her homemade frijoles, rice and tortillas were like a meal in itself. You needed nothing more, well maybe of course her homemade salsa she would make in her molcajete.
Well needless to say, since I loved being with my mom, I spent many hours with her in the kitchen. She taught me all I needed to know of the basics of cooking Mexican food from scratch. From her homemade frijoles to her delicious homemade tamales. It was important to her to tach me the right way. How to use fresh chiles for enchiladas (not chile powder) and to cook the frijoles slowly to get the right consistency.
My father was a man of many traits. He trained in Spain as a young man to be a Matador. His picture is proudly displayed in the restaurants. I did not get to know him very well since sadly he passed away at a very young age when I was a young girl. But I was told many stores of him growing up of how daring he was - like diving off the cliffs in Acapulco and not afraid of being in the rink fighting bulls. I can honestly say that I have never met anyone else who can say that their father was a bullfighter. So, for that, I am proud.
My mother ended up a widow at the young age of 26 years old and with five young children. Her cooking skills were more important than ever at that point. The recipes she learned from my father and uncle kept us kids fed.
Sometime in the seventies after my father passed away my mother decided to open a Mexican restaurant. In fact, it was the same restaurant in Southwest Detroit where she would take me to work with her when I was a child. Her family that owned it did not want it anymore and made a deal with her to try it out since they also knew she was a fantastic cook. Of course, I was her number one supporter even though I was only 13. I loved being at that restaurant with her.
Unfortunately, her dream was short-lived. It proved to be too much since she was single parent and her children still needed her at home. It was too much of a sacrifice.
But my mother, having that restaurant even for that short time, instilled something in me. Her dream became my dream and her passion for cooking became my passion and in November of 1998 my husband, Tony and I took over a small carry-out and we called it "Camelia's Taco Loco" (my husband's idea). It was the challenge of my life. But with the loving support of my husband and two wonderful children (Jess & Greg), the challenge seemed to be bearable. My husband was my rock and believer, and of course, my mother was always just a phone call away if I ever needed help with a recipe.
Well after that dream became a reality, it fueled even bigger dreams ... and so the story continues.
So, I dedicate this story to my mother. For without her, I would have not learned at a young age the authentic ways of homemade Mexican cooking. Her interest and passion will forever inspire me, even from Heaven. I will always lovingly remember all the times we spent in her kitchen talking and laughing. She would always have her apron on just waiting for one of us kids to come by so she could cook for us or for that matter cook for anyone and everyone that would visit her.