Tap Into Baja California Beers.
Husband and wife team, Chris Mejia and Jennifer Kramer created Baja Test Kitchen (BTK) out of a passion for curating and sharing Baja California’s burgeoning food, wine, and craft beer movement. Jen began her explorations of Baja with her parents, Hugh and Carol, in the early 1980s, and she now works as the marketing director for the family business, Discover Baja. Jen is also currently researching and writing the next edition of the Moon Baja Handbook. Chris’ discovery of Baja started on a faithful summer road-trip in an old VW camper with his parents, Terri and Bob, in the mid 1980s. Although Chris and Jen met while they were both living in New York City, they discovered their shared love for Baja California and moved back to the West Coast where they married and settled in Northern Baja.
Over the years Chris and Jen have explored nearly every town, beach, surf break and fishing camp on the Baja peninsula. But their true interest lies in the developing culinary scene in Northern Baja with its mouthwatering food, world-class wine, artisan beers, breathtaking vistas, and kindhearted people. In 2013 Chris and Jen began offering wine and food tasting tours to Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe to share their passion for the region with other people.
Baja Test Kitchen is dedicated to the exploration of Baja California’s emergent culinary movement. The company curates and shares the distinct flavors of “BajaMex” cuisine through its online community, culinary tasting tours and cooking workshops. BTK’s signature tasting tours have garnered a widespread following and popularity with travelers from around the world. The mission of BTK is to inspire others to develop an appreciation for Baja California’s unique culinary culture.
Chef Chad White
Craft Pizza, La Justina, and Comun Taqueria
Chad White is the man behind three area concepts: Craft Pizza, La Justina, and Comun Taqueria. Hailing from outside Spokane, Washington in the Pacific Northwest, Chad busted his chops in the grinds of his Naval kitchen and went on to absorb knowledge and technique in great kitchens throughout San Diego (Hotel Del Coronado, Doubletree Golf Resort, Roseville, Sea Rocket Bistro).
After years of conducting pop-up dinners and catering elite events throughout the U.S., Chad wanted more. His travels and explorations throughout Mexico, and especially Baja, with great chef friends like Javier Plascencia, Miguel Angel Guerrero and Diego Hernandez, inspired Chad to open La Justina in Tijuana with partner Jaime Brambila and Comun Taqueria in East Village San Diego with his partners Shane Brennan and Demien Farrell. Here he could let his culinary imagination run free, utilizing the fresh ingredients and flavors he loved from the region.
Chad is a local San Diego and Baja favorite with an eye toward producing eclectic urban style and Baja-influenced food, unlimited in scope or boundary. Chad’s wild creativity, authentic sense of flavor, style, and organic fearlessness drive his kitchens. Chad pushes expectations and boundaries, often giving life to what he has fashioned into his own indelible signature: food outside the borders and flavor beyond expectation, with delight guaranteed.
Chef Marco Rodriguez
Chef de Cuisine, La Justina
Chef Marco is from Compostela, a small town near the Pacific Coast in Nayarit, Mexico. At the age of 17, his love of food led him to move to Guadalajara to study at the Colegio Gastronomico Internacional, where he graduated in 2011. Under the tutelage of Chef Jonathan Gomez-Luna at Le Chique at the Riviera Maya, Chef Marco got a taste of full adrenaline from working in a dynamic kitchen. He worked at Le Chique for one year as demi-chef de partie.
Chef Marco found inspiration at Lulu Bistro where he joined the team and studied as a pastry chef under Chef Darren Walsh’s watchful eye. With a desire to move to Ensenada, Chef Walsh introduced Marco to one of the region’s great chefs, Diego Hernandez of Corazon de Tierra in the Valle de Guadalupe. There at Corazon de Tierra, Marco was introduced to new and exciting flavors to inspire his cooking style. This led Marco directly to La Justina to spread his wings in the Tijuana kitchen alongside Chef Chad White.