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Shelter Hall reveals chef Blue Taco’s Carlito Riestra exclusive to the New Venture Kitchen

Brighton’s Shelter Hall welcomes a new chef to the New Venture Kitchen, with freshly launched Mexican food restaurant Blue Taco bringing their flavours to the space.

Blue Taco will join Shelter Hall as the seventh kitchen trader showcasing the vibrancy and fun of a traditional Mexican Taqueria. Sessions Market, who operates the landmark seafront food market and bar, set up the New Venture Kitchen in May 2021 as a platform to nurture exciting new talent in the food industry. Blue Taco follows in the footsteps of the Venture Kitchen’s debut chef Malaysian street food concept Santan Boi, who served up his Malaysian-inspired dishes this summer.

Born and raised in the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Carlito Riestra has worked, managed, and built restaurants and bars for most of his adult life, from festival pop-ups to Michelin Star restaurants. A Brighton resident and familiar face in the local food scene, Carlito returns to Shelter Hall after being one of the first chefs that headed up the pop-up kitchen last summer with a new exclusive concept for the food hall this time.

Inspired by his dad’s love of tacos, Blue Taco combines the flavours of the Mexican coast with the country’s lively culture. Expect bright, punchy flavours highlighting Sussex seasonal ingredients. Stand-out menu dishes include Loaded Totopos (£10), choose from pork, beef or grilled chicken, salsa and guacamole; Steak Asada Tacos (£7.50), for a vegan option opt for the Jackfruit taco (£7.00) served with traditional Mexican corn tortillas, salsa roja slaw and cilantro; Pork Adobada Quesadillas (£7); and tasty sides including Firecracker Corn Cob (£2.50) and Refried Beans (£2).

The New Venture Kitchen will give chef Carlito Riestra’s Blue Taco a six-week residency in a full-spec professional kitchen, including access to Shelter Hall’s customer base and operational support to grow rapidly. At the end of the period, Blue Taco will roll out nationwide via Sessions’ Accelerator. The Accelerator is a scheme partnering real brands from real founders with premium hospitality operators and has already launched an impressive line-up of brands in Brighton, London, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow.

“After a great experience doing a pop-up kitchen at Shelter Hall last summer, I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Sessions again to launch Blue Taco – there’s no better setting for tacos. Shelter Hall has a great buzz which reminds me of the street food culture in Mexico.”

Blue Taco adds to an already exciting offering from local food brands and chefs at Shelter Hall including Lost Boys Chicken, Kenny Tutt, CrabShack, Sugardough, VIP and Hanoi Kitchen. The New Venture Kitchen provides a rare opportunity for chef entrepreneurs such as Blue Taco to introduce their food concepts to tens of thousands of customers before scaling nationwide. Always on the look-out for new concepts to join their New Venture Kitchen residency and existing brands to partner in their Accelerator, if that sounds of interest get in touch with for more information.

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