When you live in El Paso and your father gifts you a meat grinder, there’s only one thing to do – make high quality chorizo. Ten years ago, Sergio and Jaime Villanueva did just that, experimenting with their first batches of chorizo. The brothers grew up helping out in their grandparents’ restaurant and used this experience along with a bit of science, a lot of love and perseverance to get the flavors right for recipes that would become Kicha Foods.
The name Kicha comes from the merging of their parents’ nicknames, Kika and Chamel.
“They were the ones responsible for laying the foundation of what came to be my passion for food and everything it entails,” says Sergio, who studied biochemistry at UTEP with the intent of getting into the food industry as a scientist.
The brothers have crafted an authentic chorizo made from all-natural pork shoulder or turkey breast, free from hormones, antibiotics and steroids. A laundry list of organic spices and herbs goes into the recipe, including organic chile from Hatch, NM, which they often make the trek to get. With products so flavorful and complex, they’ve been a big hit at area farmers markets. If you can’t catch them at one, you can give them a call to place an order.
The chorizo is sold by the pound as red chile or green chile and as mild or spicy. They also make a vegan soy-based chorizo that rivals the meat-based counterpart.
The brothers also tend an organic garden that produces the ingredients for three salsas, limited in availability: fire-roasted jalapeno and basil, chipotle and Serrano with oregano.
Future plans include the construction of a small processing plant, USDA approval and local partnerships that will all lead to easier access for El Pasoans craving their tantalizing chorizo.