Alexa Shields Alexa Shields |

The Heart of Sun Basket: Chef Justine

Over the past few months, Mi Rancho and Sun Basket have built a partnership supplying Mi Rancho Organic Tortillas as part of the delicious meals Executive Chef Justine Kelly creates for Sun Basket customers. Every meal is full of color and flavor and just the type of dish that I’d be proud to serve my family.

Tofu Mole Tacos-Sun-BasketMy deep passion for food and cooking has led me to always aspire to become a chef one day. For now I settle on being a home cook creating fun meals for those I love. When given the opportunity to speak to Chef Justine, I couldn’t help asking her questions about the inspiration behind the dishes she creates and how she found pure tortilla joy with Mi Rancho organic corn tortillas, organic flour tortillas and more.

    1. What influences drove you to become a chef?

There are many reasons why I became a cook, but the most important influence by far is my dad. He loves to try new things in the kitchen and he taught me that it’s ok to experiment. Cooking with him when I was a kid was always fun and it made me want to cook professionally. I’m so grateful that he always supported that choice.

  1. Previously you worked in well-known restaurants such as the Slanted Door in San Francisco. What drove you to bring your talents to a company like Sun Basket?

Working in restaurants was a wonderful experience, but at the end of the day, there are only so many seats in the dining and a limit on how many people you can feed. Here at Sun Basket, I reach so many more people. I’m not just delivering a plate of food, I’m giving our customers an experience that they can share with their families and maybe even learn something new about food along the way. I love that.

  1. Mi Rancho is proud to be the tortilla vendor of choice for Sun Basket. What factors go into you deciding which vendors you’d like to work with? And specifically, why Mi Rancho Tortillas?

They are my daughter’s favorite tortilla. But more than that, I like that Mi Rancho tortillas are organic and made with non-GMO corn. They’re great tasting, too. At Sun Basket, we like to work with local producers and Mi Rancho got its start right here in my hometown of Oakland.

  1. Has it been difficult to focus your recipe development from being a chef in a fully stocked restaurant kitchen to that of a home cook?

Not at all. I’ve always cooked for my family, so I still think like a home cook. The techniques we use at Sun Basket are the same ones I learned in restaurant kitchens and we have an incredible range of ingredients and cuisines to work with.

  1. What is your favorite dish to make with Mi Rancho Organic Corn Tortillas?

Chilaquiles! Corn tortillas cooked with salsa and eggs. What’s not to love about that?

  1. What flavors or ingredients do you tend to incorporate into your recipes?

Citrus. Almost every Sun Basket recipe includes a lemon or a lime. Acid is essential for balancing the flavors in a dish and fresh citrus is one of the easiest ways to add it to a food.

  1. Can you describe the best meal you’ve ever had?

I couldn’t possibly choose a single best meal, but my favorite thing to eat is a perfectly roasted chicken.

  1. Who or what inspires you as a chef?

Great ingredients, farmers’ markets, my family and friends. I love to feed people.

All of us at Mi Rancho are excited at this new venture with Sun Basket and the great people like Chef Justine are the heart and creative force. When paired with the passion and innovation that goes into every Mi Rancho organic tortilla, I can’t wait to see what dishes are offered next.

You can sign up to receive Sun Basket and select your meals by following this link.