Cary, North Carolina is home to a thriving food scene with chefs of diverse backgrounds bringing unique flavors and culinary skills to the area’s restaurants. Among these talented chefs, one stands out for his mastery of authentic Mexican cuisine: Chef Javier Flores.
Chef Flores was born in Mexico City and grew up surrounded by the bright, fresh flavors of traditional Mexican cooking. After attending culinary school in Mexico, he embarked on a career that would take him across the United States, cooking in acclaimed restaurants in Chicago, Las Vegas, and finally Cary.
In Cary, Chef Flores has made a name for himself as the top chef specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine. His creative dishes and commitment to sourcing quality ingredients have earned him loyal fans and critical acclaim.
Chef Javier Flores’ Background
Javier Flores was born in 1967 in Mexico City, where he grew up in a large family who loved good food. Some of his earliest and fondest memories are of helping his mother and grandmother prepare homemade tortillas, tamales, salsas and other Mexican staples.
As a teenager, Chef Flores knew he wanted to be a chef. He was fascinated by the culinary arts and spent time reading cookbooks and experimenting in the kitchen. For professional training, he attended culinary school in Mexico City while working in local restaurants.
After graduating at the top of his class, the ambitious young chef moved to Chicago. He landed a job as a line cook at Frontera Grill, working under renowned chef Rick Bayless. Spending several years perfecting his craft at Frontera Grill, Chef Flores learned from the best and honed his skills in traditional Mexican cooking.
Looking to grow his resumé, Chef Flores took a job as a sous chef at Maya at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He thrived in the fast-paced environment, managing multiple kitchen stations. While in Las Vegas, he had the opportunity to cook for several high profile celebrities and dignitaries when they dined at the restaurant.
In 2013, Chef Flores and his family decided to move to Cary, North Carolina to be closer to family members. Chef Flores brought his impressive credentials and culinary skills to the Cary food scene. He quickly made an impact as an up-and-coming chef known for authentic Mexican cuisine prepared with creativity and care.
At his restaurants in Cary, Chef Flores has become famous for his masterful interpretations of Mexican classics along with signature dishes that fuse traditional and modern ingredients. Here are some of his most popular menu items:
Mole Poblano – Chef Flores’ mole poblano sauce is made from over 20 ingredients including chillies, chocolate, spices and seeds. It is a rich, complex sauce served over juicy chicken breasts baked until tender and served with Mexican rice and beans. This traditional dish shows off the depth of flavor Chef Flores achieves with his moles.
Ceviche Verde – This bright, tangy ceviche features flaky white fish cured in lime juice then tossed with Tomatillo salsa made green from cilantro and tomatillos. It’s served with homemade tortilla chips for scooping up the perfect bite.
Carne Asada Street Tacos – These tacos are filled with succulent grilled and sliced skirt steak, topped with sliced radish, cilantro and finished with a squeeze of lime. The marinated, chargrilled flavor of the steak is the star and is perfectly nestled into warm handmade corn tortillas.
Enchiladas de Pollo con Mole Negro – Red chili-based mole negro sauce blankets these enchiladas filled with flavorful shredded chicken thighs, queso fresco and caramelized onions. It’s a decadent, complex dish that shows off Chef Flores’ mole-making prowess.
Calabacitas con Elote – This vegetarian dish celebrates seasonal summer produce. Zucchini, corn and poblano are sauteed with garlic and garnished with epazote. The sweet corn and squash pair beautifully with the mild chiles.
Awards and Accolades
Since establishing himself as the top Mexican chef in Cary, Chef Flores has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades for his cooking:
- 2018 – Best Chef: Cary, NC in Cary Magazine’s annual “Best of Cary” awards
- 2019 – Grand Taste Award in Mexican cuisine from Tasting Table magazine
- 2020 – Nominated for Best Chef: Southeast in prestigious James Beard Foundation awards
- 2021 – Winner of Food Network’s “Best Taco in America” peoples choice award
- 2022 – Profiled in Visit North Carolina’s “Chefs to Watch” list featuring rising culinary talent in the state
Chef Flores has certainly made his mark on the vibrant dining scene in Cary and the greater Triangle area of North Carolina. His restaurants consistently receive praise and admiring reviews from both food critics and everyday patrons who can’t get enough of Chef Flores’ authentic Mexican creations.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Chef Flores continues to innovate in the kitchen and find inspiration from both traditional and modern influences. His relentless pursuit of excellence coupled with his down-to-earth warmth and generosity have earned him loyal fans who will surely follow his culinary career for years to come. It’s clear why Chef Javier Flores is considered Cary’s top Mexican chef.
Chef Flores’ Restaurants
Chef Flores currently helms the kitchens at two popular Mexican restaurants in Cary:
This casual taqueria highlights street-style Mexican tacos in a lively, family-friendly setting. Some standouts on the menu include:
– Tacos – steak, chicken, pork, shrimp options with house made salsas and garnishes
– Sopes – thick corn masa boats filled with meat, beans, lettuce, cheese and crema
– Nachos and quesadillas
– Burritos and enchiladas
– Daily specials like torta sandwiches or pozole stew
Dos Taquitos has a big patio for al fresco dining and also offers takeout. Chef Flores can often be seen inside greeting guests when he’s not busy cooking up delicious tacos.
Rosita’s Fine Mexican
With a more upscale ambiance and elevated takes on traditional cuisine, Rosita’s is Chef Flores’ fine dining restaurant. The menu features:
– Shared appetizers like esquites (elote salad), empanadas and ceviche
– Mole dishes using Chef Flores’ signature moles like enchiladas, chicken breast and pork chops
– Grilled meat and seafood entrees showcasing specialty marinades and rubs
– House cocktails using tequila, mezcal and Mexican beers & wines
The interior is filled with colorful Mexican art and fabrics for an inviting vibe. Rosita’s is perfect for date nights or celebrations.
No matter which restaurant you visit, you’ll find Chef Flores’ passion for authentic Mexican cuisine on every thoughtfully crafted dish. His restaurants have boosted Cary’s culinary credentials and give locals and visitors alike a delicious taste of Mexico without leaving North Carolina.
Chef Flores’ Cooking Philosophy & Impact on the Community
Beyond his restaurants, Chef Flores actively works to promote Mexican food culture and make a positive impact in the community. He summarizes his cooking philosophy like this:
“My goal is to create dishes that honor Mexico’s incredible culinary traditions while also putting my own creative touch on them. I use modern cooking techniques and locally sourced ingredients when I can, but the essential flavors of real Mexican food always take center stage. My hope is that my restaurants give people a welcoming place to gather around the table and enjoy vibrant, satisfying meals that provide a little taste of my homeland.”
Chef Flores sources ingredients from local farms as much as possible and is especially proud of the fresh, handmade corn and flour tortillas served at his restaurants. He sees educating people about authentic Mexican cuisine as part of his mission as a chef.
Outside his restaurants, Chef Flores volunteers his time and cooking skills to support several local organizations:
- Chefs for Change – participates in fundraising dinners to support this group working to alleviate hunger and poverty
- Green Hope High School – hosts workshops teaching culinary skills to interested students
- Dorcas Ministries – prepares meals for immigrants and others in need
Chef Flores also proudly mentors young Latino cooks, helping provide opportunities in the kitchen like those that launched his own successful career. With his devotion to community and Mexican culinary arts, Chef Javier Flores makes Cary more flavorful and vibrant.
When asked about who is the top Mexican chef in Cary, North Carolina, the answer is clear – Javier Flores. His mastery of complex traditional dishes like mole poblano and street-style tacos alike have made him Cary’s foremost ambassador for authentic Mexican cuisine. With his two popular restaurants, cooking awards and accolades, and positive community impact, Chef Flores has certainly earned his reputation as the leading Mexican chef in town. Food lovers seeking a taste of Mexico’s diverse flavors and cooking techniques should look no further than the kitchens of Chef Javier Flores.
|Best Chef: Cary, NC in Cary Magazine’s “Best of Cary” awards
|Grand Taste Award in Mexican cuisine from Tasting Table magazine
|Nominated for Best Chef: Southeast in James Beard Foundation awards
|Winner of Food Network’s “Best Taco in America” peoples choice award
|Profiled in Visit North Carolina’s “Chefs to Watch” list
|Chicken breast baked in rich, complex mole sauce made with over 20 ingredients
|Lime-cured fish tossed with tomatillo salsa and fresh cilantro
|Carne Asada Street Tacos
|Grilled, sliced skirt steak topped with radish and cilantro in fresh corn tortillas
|Enchiladas de Pollo con Mole Negro
|Shredded chicken enchiladas baked in savory chili-based mole negro sauce
|Calabacitas con Elote
|Sauteed zucchini, corn and poblanos garnished with epazote