Though Walking Spanish may seem like the result of a pivot as the restaurant industry struggled throughout the past year, the pop-up restaurant is really more a culmination of the many years René Alesandro Coreas has spent in kitchens since childhood.
It began with his parents, immigrants from El Salvador, who worked in restaurants. Unable to afford a babysitter, they often had René at work with them. Eventually, René got a job as a dishwasher at a birrieria before getting promoted to a prep cook, all to help pay for college. After graduation, he could have pursued a career in what he studied but instead found himself drawn back to the kitchen, hopping from one restaurant to another as he learned as much as possible.
This led him to Petit Trois where he worked for Chef Ludo Lefebvre for a while before opening his own restaurant in the arts district. At the same time, René had begun hosting pop-up dinner parties with a friend, renting out kitchens and cooking for small groups. However, when the pandemic arrived in California along with heavy restrictions on restaurants, René wound up shutting this restaurant down.
found himself back at Petit Trois, but he also redeveloped his dinner parties into a more formal pop-up restaurant: Walking Spanish. Drawing from his traditional French culinary training and experience at high-end restaurants, René is using Walking Spanish to put his “own little spin” on Salvadorian food and Central American cuisine more broadly. For example, one of René’s staples is pupusas which he has reinvented by adding such things like a black salsa or the consome he uses to make birria directly to the dough for the pupusas, taking them from their typical light color to almost black or orangish-red, respectively.
Of course, there have been a handful of culinary traditionalists who have pushed back on René’s transformations of Salvadorian staples, but he remains generally unfazed by such pushback. Instead, René is more focused on combining all his differing culinary and cultural experiences to produce the food that has made Walking Spanish such a success.
The latest Instagram post on the Walking Spanish account hints at a next chapter, and René has explained to Team BREADBAR that any current pause in Walking Spanish operations is really just so he can develop a more stable, sustainable future for the pop-up. From finding a more consistent location to finding a place to call Walking Spanish’s permanent home, René plans to expand not only the business but also Central American cuisine’s presence in the Los Angeles area.
“What I want to do is expand the menu and focus on each region and its specialty, and try to bring light to our food — get it out to the mainstream and to the public. [...] Maybe pupusas can be just as popular as tacos,” René said.
– Team BREADBAR
You can learn more about Walking Spanish through their website, and
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