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El Jardín Opens in Liberty Station

Former Top Chef contestant and Bracero alum Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins showcases classic Mexican cuisine
Photo by Paul Body

By Troy Johnson

Some of Mexico’s oldest recipes are being lost. Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins has met many of the women attempting to preserve them—during childhood visits to her aunt’s restaurant in Guadalajara, and more recently, while filming as a contestant on Top Chef México. She’s aiming to keep them alive at El Jardín, a partnership with the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group (Breakfast Republic). After her James Beard Award–nominated run at the short-lived Bracero, this one’s personal.

Along with dishes like Sonoran scallop aguachile and grilled bone marrow, she’s using a starter for mole from Puebla—the sauce’s legendary birthplace—and her aunt’s age-old recipe for mole poblano with enchiladas, as well as 40 ingredients from south of the border, like the pasilla mixe chile. The on-site garden of rare fruits and vegetables will feed part of her then-and-now Mexican menu, with top bartender Christian Siglin handling the agave spirits. What once was lost, now is found.

2885 Perry Road, Point Loma

El Jardín Opens in Liberty Station

Photo by Paul Body

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