From her casa to yours

Luma Makhouf carried her Mexican heritage to the UAE and transformed it into authentic and delicious food at Maiz Tacos

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Nisthula Nagarajan

Published: Thu 29 Jul 2021, 1:28 PM

About me: I grew up in Chicago in the US where Mexican food is so common, it’s like shawarma or falafel here. When I moved to Dubai 12 years ago I missed it, so I gravitated towards the idea of one day opening up a taco truck. My husband and I did just that.

We both run the entire operation of Maiz Tacos and it feels amazing growing from a dream to a small food truck then a kiosk and now to our own restaurant with multiple thriving brands.

It has been truly surreal. At heart, we remain authentic by sticking to the same ingredients that you would find in Mexico — just elevating the plating or using novel cooking techniques. Our passion is to be able to source 100 per cent fresh hormone-free produce. We also import some ingredients from Mexico.

We are a family-run business and hence, the face of our brand. You will always find us either in the kitchen or checking on our customers to ensure that our food is always fantastic and we get to know our community.

Favourite dish: At the moment, it’s our Birria Tacos. They are slow-cooked, braised beef tacos that are pan-fried in the fat that sits on top of the birria, stuffed with melted cheese, onion and cilantro and served with a consommé to dip.

Riding out the pandemic: We just kept on trucking. We pushed our DIY boxes and talked to our customers. Every dirham counted at that stage. I was a new mom but that didn’t stop me from selling as many boxes as I could and delivering them to our amazing and supportive customers.

The future: We are expanding into more kitchens soon to reach more people via delivery, and are finalising a new location as we speak. These are super exciting times for us and the team. We just want to be able to grow our community, our locations in Dubai, and cater to more events and pop-ups. Make sure to look out for our exclusive local collaborations and pop-ups this summer.

Advice to budding chefs: Stick with it and don’t give up. Being in F&B in the UAE is not easy. It’s a competitive world, but with the right mindset and passion you will succeed— you just have to hang in there. Don’t give up when things get hard, as cliché as it sounds, the most successful brands thriving now are the ones thatstuck around.

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