When a 20-year-old business student at Holland College was looking for some on-the-job experience, he looked no further than his mom for help.
Alex Frangos decided to start up his own food venture, called El Sabor De Mexico, and enlisted his mother, Claudie Perez Vega, as cook.
It’s a taco food truck that will operate at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market Co-op’s open-air market.
Perez Vega just might give him a leg up on the competition. She ran her own Mexican restaurant — La Sazon de Mexico — in downtown Charlottetown a couple of years ago before circumstances beyond her control, she says, forced her to close.
“Claudia is well known for her Mexican dishes,’’ Frangos chuckled, explaining that helping out his mom is part of the reason he’s heading down the path of trying to run a business.
“But, I also want to get into business. I’m just trying to get my foot in the door, not so much the restaurant side of things but owning and operating a business, seeing the liabilities and the assets that come out of it.’’
Besides taking business administration at Holland College, Frangos works at Biovectra full time.
Perez Vega said it’s hard to find the words to express how proud she is of what her son is doing.
“I know he will make it grow,’’ Perez Vega said. “He is learning lots. I have to give him a lot of credit … he will make it because he is a hard worker.’’
Since moving on from the downtown Charlottetown restaurant, Perez Vega and Frangos have been whipping up Mexican dishes at the farmers’ market as one of the many vendors. However, the market suspended its operations in mid-March when public health restrictions were put in place due to the pandemic.
In the time that mother and son ran the operation inside the farmers’ market, Frangos has been carefully learning from his mother’s experience.
“I started doing dishes and moved up to preparing food and things like that since I was 13 or 14 years old, but I was mainly focused on school when she had the restaurant,’’ he said.
Recently, Perez Vega has been talking to relatives in California who had their own taco trucks and spoke about how well things were going. Frangos said one of his chef relatives is helping him shape the menu.
Frangos said considering the public health restrictions in place, now was the perfect time to do the same thing here.
The taco truck will open on Saturday, July 11. After that, it will operate from Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. While the business name is El Sabor De Mexico, it can be found on Facebook under the name La Sazon de Mexico, the name of her former business.