This is our story.

It’s a story about passion, traditions, full stomachs & al pastor tacos.

It’s about a Mexican muchacho and an Aussie chica, whose passion for real Mexican food led them to pioneer an authentic traditional tortilleria & street eatery in Australia.

But we’ll get to that soon. First a snappy history lesson, because our story is rooted in thousands of years of culinary history…

It all began more than 2000 years ago, waaay back in….

The birth of tortillas

One day on the banks of a river in central America, a great discovery is made: the secret to unlocking the natural nutritional goodness stored inside of corn. Early Mesoamericans figure out that by steeping their corn overnight in water, rich in limestone from local rivers, the fibrous outer shells soften, and the grains are able to be stoneground into a pliable dough and formed into delicious tortillas. This transformation is called ‘nixtamalization’, and it is the key to releasing the B vitamins bound within the corn. Our beloved tortillas are born!

~1200BC to 600BC

The fuel of great civilsations

Over the next few centuries, these tortillas become the staple of the peoples of Mesoamerica. Fuelled by this nutrition, the region gives rise to the great pre-Hispanic civilisations of the Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs, and many more. Tortilla-making is an essential part of daily life, right up until the 1950s that is, when this ancient culinary craft comes under threat…

600BC to 1519AD

¡No manches guey! Nutrition and flavour give way to convenience

As global companies look for cheaper ways to produce food en-masse, the quality of Mexico’s humble tortilla declines. A heavily-processed ‘just-add-water’ tortilla flour is invented that bypasses the traditional nixtamal process, and typically contains preservatives, additives and GMO corn. These industrial-age tortillas flood the market and largely displace traditionally-made tortillas in all but the small villages of Mexico. The difference between the short-cut tortillas and the real nixtamal ones? It’s kind of like instant coffee versus coffee made with freshly-ground coffee beans. ¡Nixtamal por favor!

1950s

Enter Gerardo, el niñito

As a small niño growing up in Mexico City, learning to cook traditional Mexican dishes from his mum and Grandma, Gerardo Lopez knew good tortillas. And he knew the best ones were the nixtamal ones found in the villages of Mexico. He dreamt to one day travel abroad and open his own restaurant, sharing the delicious dishes and traditional tortillas of his homeland with the world.

1978

Hola Australia!

Fast forward 3 decades. Gerardo has grown from niño to adulto (…or maybe that’s still a work in progress 🤔). He’s climbed Everest (literally, and yes, to the top), and has taken the 15,000km journey across the seas to migrate to Australia. Although enthralled by the culture and culinary scene of his new home, there was something missing, something that no Mexican can live without… quality authentic tortillas.

As much as Australia had advanced in its offerings of authentic Mexican food, processed tortillas were the only ones widely available at that time, meaning that truly authentic taste was always beyond reach.

2008

Two passionate foodies meet

One day, Gerardo meets Diana.  Diana – a fellow foodie who had discovered the magic of real Mexican food while studying for her anthropology degree in Mexico City – was also longing for a good plate of tacos. You know, the kind you get back in Mexico: fresh spiced marinated pork, sliced thinly off the trompo and flipped onto a fragrant warm corn tortilla and drizzled with delicious homemade salsa roja and freshly chopped ….um where were we again?…ah yess…

2010

An idea is born!

A common craving had brought our two characters together in a new mission: to give Australians the long-overdue authentic Mexican food it deserves. Starting with the most essential part: corn tortillas made the traditional way from scratch, just like they’re made in the villages of Mexico.

2011

The La Tortilleria Dream Comes to Life

So, after Diana’s several trips back to Mexico to learn the authentic process by visiting and working in tortillerias across the country, ‘La Tortilleria’ was born, producing fresh nixtamal corn tortillas from our restaurant in the backstreets of Kensington, Victoria.

March 2013

¡Felicidades! ¡Más GRANDE!

And the word spreads. Mexicans and food-enthusiasts from near and far begin coming to try our real corn tortillas and eat authentic Mexican street food at our restaurant. Top chefs from across the country put our tortillas on their menus, and our products fill more and more grocery stores nation-wide. Our trophy cabinet fills up after winning several national food awards. There’s a line out the door of our restaurant, and we’ve had to open a new dedicated tortilla-making site in Melbourne’s outer west to keep up with demand!

2013 to 2019
Today, 2020

Enter You

You find yourself reading to the end of a long but inspiring story, and now you’re hungry for a plate of al pastor tacos, made with real corn tortillas. You go to La Tortilleria’s [where to buy] page. Your Mexican cooking goes next level, your tacos are deliciosos, your amigos are impressed, your family’s bellies are filled with joy, and you never look back. The secret to really good bien chido Mexican is revealed to you, ¡Que padre!

Our Familia of Tortilla Makers

Gerardo Lopez Co-Founder

A passionate adventurer and proud Chilango, Gerardo is originally from Mexico City. After moving to Australia in 2009 he became frustrated with the less-than-ideal offerings of “Mexican” cuisine available back then. He saw an opportunity to follow his culinary dream and share authentic Mexican with his new home.

Read more

Diana Hull Co-founder

Diana is passionate about healthy eating, sustainable food systems and preserving indigenous methods of food preparation. While studying abroad in Mexico she fell in love with the craft of nixtamal tortilla making, and is now on a mission to keep this culinary tradition alive and teach the world about it.

Jessica Roso Chief Everything Officer

Jess is a foodie from way back and has enjoyed working in the industry for around 20 years. Sharing a love of small business and great Mexican, Jess joined the La Tortilleria team in 2016. Her experience in sales, marketing and management is helping us get our message out to the world, one tortilla at a time!

Gab Salaris El Jefe de la Fabrica

Gab has 20+ years working for the big wigs of the Australian Food Industry, however he decided to throw it all in and make dreams come true for the little guys instead. Growing up in an Italian immigrant family, Gab has a serious passion for good food, made from scratch with real ingredients.

Isaac Nava Chief Tortilla Maker

Isaac is a fourth-generation nixtamal tortilla maker from the central-north of Mexico. He has been making tortillas for as long as he can remember and now ensures every tortilla that emerges from the La Tortilleria oven, is a tribute to those back home in Mexico.

Yasser Garcia Project Manager

Yasser is passionate about all things food and all things Mexican! He has worked across all types of venues and brought some of our favourite Mexican to life in Melbourne. His passion for cooking is only matched by his passion for tequila!

Asha Ellis Victorian Sales Manager

Asha's love for artisan products makes her the perfect match to our tortillas! She has an abundance of experience in hospitality and artisan food. She's a great home-cook striking a perfect balance between delicious and nutritious ~ of course with a Mexican influence!

Louis & Iliana Food Gurus

Iliana has been with us since day one and we wouldn't have it any other way! Both Luis & Illiana are to thank for the delicious food at our lil' restaurant. Both chefs have moved from Mexico to make Oz their home which we are eternally grateful for!

Francisco Restaurant Manager

Cisco has a knack for hosting and delivering a great dining experience! He's fluent in too many languages to list with his experience coming from all around the world... He is now at home in our pocket of Melbourne!