This man quit his six-figure City job to open a Mexican taco restaurant that has hour-long queues out the door
James James, 35, initially chose a very different career for his two restaurateurs, Sam, 43 and Eddie, 41.
He spent up to a decade in the city as a derivatives broker, where he earned a six-figure salary.
However, he recently swung to embrace his passion for food — a passion that flows in the blood of Harts.
Now James leads El Pastór, a taqueria in the Borough Market, alongside his brothers and friends Crispin Somerville.
The restaurant has some funny comments, and there are several queues for an hour through the door.
He told Business Insider that he entered to co-find the new access point in London by accident.
“I had ten amazing years in the city, and I loved it,” he said. “When I resigned in December 2015, I did not think I was going to go to hospitality.”
He received six months of gardening leave and decided to return to his former brokerage firm.
Meanwhile, Eddie and Sam have recently opened the third branch of the Spanish tapas restaurant Spanish Barrafina, one of which won a Michelin star.
The brothers also run Soho’s modern membership club, Quo Vadis, and are renowned for changing the way Londoners eat by introducing the policy of non-reservation to the food centers of the capital of Covent Garden and Soho, where their Outposts.
They have received some awards for their efforts, including the GQ Best Restorer Award.
Climbing the Mexican wave
The idea of El Pastor was born in Mexico City, where Sam and Somerville drove the night club El Colmillo during the 90s and 00s.
“They fell in love with cooking and culture and spent hours discussing where you can find the most authentic tacos,” James said.
Outside of Mexico, taco culture had only taken place on the west coast of America.
“Mexican food in the UK has always been a sweaty cheese in heaps of nachos, with sour cream and maybe jalapenos if you’re lucky,” James said. “It was until Wahaca came in. He opened people to start thinking about Mexican food, not Tex Mex, but something chic, with the tiniest flavors.”
It was only when the tacos began to take off in New York that the siblings chose the time had come to convey the pattern to London.
James said his gardening license eventually catalyzed to accomplish this multi-decade taco dream as he was the only one to have free time to investigate the best way to translate the culture and bring it to the ‘pond.
So he flew to discover — “and the rest is the story,” he said.
Flavors “authentic” and “punchy.”
Pastór propelled in London in December 2016. The arrangement is to open three more eateries at an unfaltering pace throughout the following ten years.
James believes that the true reason for El Pastór’s success is the authentic and punchy Mexican flavor that separates it from its competitors.
He said it was for him to perfect the physical methods of Mexican cuisine.
They import corn, then prepare and grind to make “blue and white native tortillas.”
The art development apparently involved many trips to Mexico, where James learned a local trade and mingled with the locals.
More importantly, visiting Mexico has allowed you to try indigenous tacos.
“With Mexican food, the more you learn, the more you realize that people have been doing it for over 60 years. We learn at our feet, so we have had a lot of disasters,” James said.
“We just learn the basics first, we do not have new dishes every week, but we’re going to propose a more creative process.”
Idaho Falls News understands that the name of El Pastór was propelled by the famous “taco al minister,” created in focal Mexico given a shawarma churrascaria brought to the country by Lebanese immigrants. It is also the main dish of the restaurant.
“We had to learn to build the spit and use it. We became experts in a very small number of things because we had that goal.”
The tip of the coasts is one of James’s favorite dishes on the menu.