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.

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.

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