Food

Qdoba chef Katy Velazquez taps her travels in Mexico to innovate the menu—but will never touch the chain's signature queso

Velazquez uses her experience working with chef Rick Bayless to add authenticity to dishes, balancing that with a sense of fun.

This episode of Menu Feed is brought to you by Tock.
Tock

Katy Velazquez, executive chef at Qdoba Mexican Eats, claims that she got her Ph.D in regional Mexican cooking while working with chef Rick Bayless in his celebrated restaurants, on TV shows and throughout his travels in Mexico.

Those experiences influence her menu R&D for 735-unit Qdoba, but she balances that authenticity with a good dose of fast-casual fun.

Although Velazquez has innovated the menu with on-trend items such as birria tacos and breakfast burritos, there’s one item she can never change: the chain’s queso. It has a cult following, and every menu item has to go through one important test before it’s launched: Does it go well with the queso?

katy velazquez
Katy Velazquez

Listen as Velazquez talks about her exciting culinary journey, why beverages are now an important focus for menu innovation and where she plans to take Qdoba’s menu in the year ahead.

Subscribe to Menu Feed on Apple Podcasts.

Subscribe on Spotify.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Operations

Trend or fad? These restaurant currents could go either way

Reality Check: A number of ripples were evident in the business during the first half of the year. The question is, do they have staying power?

Financing

Starbucks' value offer is a bad idea

The Bottom Line: It’s not entirely clear that price is the reason Starbucks is losing traffic. If it isn’t, the company’s new value offer could backfire.

Financing

Struggling I Heart Mac and Cheese franchisees push back against their franchisor

Operators say most of them aren't making money and want a break on their royalties. But they also complain about receiving expired cheese from closed stores. "Don't send us moldy product."

Trending

More from our partners