How did you get started in this business?
My first cooking job was at Barry’s Oasis when I was fresh out of high school. From there, I fell in love with cooking and changed my major from Architecture to Culinary Arts at CNM.
Why did you choose this business?
It’s my passion! I believe that to be a great chef/restaurant owner, you have to love it. Or you’ll feel overworked for sure!
I had a final project for one of my culinary classes at CNM—to create my very own official business plan for a restaurant. I spent hours and days doing research, finding investors—the whole works! I thought; why not really go for it? So I decided to open Pasión Latin Fusion with my wife fresh out of college … after getting an A on that assignment of course.
What is your or your company’s greatest asset?
We use fresh, local, organic ingredients when possible at Pasión. Our guests often say they taste the love in their dishes!
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
I’ve been in Albuquerque my whole life; this is home. Also, I recognize our foodie demographic is really growing here— and most of our guests are self- proclaimed foodies!
- Company name: Pasión Latin Fusion
- Type of business: Restaurant
- Owners: Elvis and Monica Bencomo
- Business Motto: "Buen Provecho!" (Bon appetit in Spanish)
- Ages: 27 and 28 years old
- Hometown: Albuquerque
- Business Address: 722 Lomas Blvd NW
Albuquerque NM 87102
- Number of Employees: 12
- Business Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am - 2 pm | Sat 11 am - 9 pm
- Business Fax: n/a
- Business Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Business Website: www.pasionlatinfusion.com
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
I am motivated to leave a legacy for my family. Yeah, sure, it’s great to be able to pay the bills each month, but my purpose has to be deeper than that. I want my kids to witness their father working hard at a vision he believes in.
Do you have any special plans or changes coming up?
We’re working on something exciting! To better cater to our lunch crowd (and dinner), we are implementing a new system where our guests can order food immediately upon entering our establishment from a cashier. We also will be adding new, fresh, and fast options on our menu like salads and pastries to go! We’re very excited to implement this new dining system by mid-October to better serve our patrons.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
I’m pretty proud of winning the 505 Food Fight competition recently. I competed against Cristina Martinez, Executive Chef of the Artichoke Café, and won! We were given 3 surprise ingredients and had to make 3 courses for judges in one hour, as well as a 3rd place prize for our Chicharrones at the State Fair.
Cooking and menu preparation, for sure. The food is the most important ingredient to any restaurant! (Pun intended).
What was your best business decision?
Agreeing to do “Restaurant Impossible.” My wife, Monica, applied for us to be on the show sensing we needed some help from a third party. Participating in the show gave us invaluable one-on-one mentorship with Chef Robert Irvine—one of my culinary heroes!
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
Aside from donating hundreds of gift cards to numerous organizations the past 4 years, I would say I’m most proud of going back to my school, CNM, and giving presentations for culinary students!
What do you look for in prospective employees?
Above all, we look for people who look for us. Those who show sincere enthusiasm for our story and who want to join our team are the ones who are chosen to represent Pasión.
What inspires you?
Creative food inspires me—any meal or dish that breaks the “norm” of what good food tastes like. Also, my mom’s home cooked meals still inspire me to be a better chef.