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Tortilleria Mi Nina

You probably wouldn't expect a veteran, preeminent chef to wind up working in the tortilla chips industry, but that's exactly where Chef Jamie Mammano ended up – and we're glad he did, because otherwise we wouldn't get to taste the 5-star-restaurant-worthy tortilla chips he's hawking. 

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in NYC, Jamie made a name for himself at fancy Washington, DC eateries, then became the chef for the US Ambassador to Spain, and then spent 10 years with the Four Seasons Hotel Company. Ultimately he catapulted its Boston dining room, Aujourd'hui, to the top ranking in Zagat's survey of Boston Restaurants. Then came Mistral, which he opened in South Boston and ran for 13 years, garnering major accolades all the while. But Jamie wouldn't stop until he reached Boston restaurant mogul status – next came Teatro, The Federalist, Sorellina and L'Andana (we're exhausted just listing these!).

In 2011, Jamie decided it was time to shift gears. He'd spent years enjoying fresh corn tortillas shipped by his mother-in-law from his wife's home in Mexico, and he decided it was time to share the goodness with the rest of New England. So, he opened Tortilleria Mi Niña, the first tortilla bakery in New England that produces tortillas authentically, from a true old world recipe. From headquarters in Everett, Massachusetts, Jamie employs Aztec techniques, cooking whole grain corn with water and lime, and using hand-carved volcanic stones (!!) to grind the corn mixture. It's got a nifty name – "Nixtamalization."

Jamie's tortilla chips are the kind that remind you that something as humble as a chip can actually be very impressive. It could be that his years of culinary awesomeness are just compressed into each chip, but we think it goes deeper – it's his passion for tradition, for honoring the meticulous, time-tested techniques, and most of all, for the real love that goes into making superior food. 

Maker website: mininatortilla.com

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