Hello, I’m a Chipotle tortilla. We know each other pretty well. You holding me while I hold your food is something we both look forward to every day. By now you might’ve heard a lot about the other items on our menu, but I felt it was a good time to tell my story.
Our approach to food—what we call Food With Integrity—has led us to learn about and work to improve many ingredients on our menu. On this journey, we’ve reached plenty of milestones, all with respect for the land, farmers, animals, and our customers.
However, all of the food I see on the line every day is amazingly simple, except for me. In fact, I’m currently made up of way more ingredients than I’d like, including some artificial ones. I began to realize that despite my perfect pale color and delicious taste, I’m not perfect. I was curious why I’m so complicated, so I asked our team of chefs “Hey, what gives?”
The chefs explained to me that there are a few reasons why I’m a pretty unique case. First, there’s my physique. I’m so thin, flat and moist, that it’s tough for me to stay fresh because mold actually finds me super attractive. Eww.
And second, since I actually do something other than just hang around and be delicious (I’m lookin’ at you, fajita veggies), I need to be flexible and stretch to hold all the food inside. It’s no easy task.
The easy solution to my “issues” is to use a bunch of additives whose names I can’t pronounce—like sodium metabisulfite (a preservative to keep me fresh), and monocalcium phosphate (a dough conditioner to give me some stretch and to eliminate the need for natural rising).
The chefs told me that my tortilla ancestors didn’t have these issues because they were made in a simple way that gave the dough time to rise on its own, be baked, and eaten right away. In fact, their recipe consists of only a few ingredients: corn flour, oil, water and salt for corn tortillas, and flour, oil, salt, water and a starter (or natural yeast) for flour tortillas.
Now, I’m no expert, but it seemed to me that using this method is the way to go. The chefs agreed, and are actually already on it. While it’ll take some time to hit the restaurants, they’re fine-tuning a new recipe with those simple ingredients that will allow my dough to rise slowly like it used to, eliminating the need for dough conditioners and giving me plenty of natural softness and stretch.
Then I’ll be chilled at the peak of my freshness (buh-bye, preservatives) and sent on my way. And when I make my grand arrival at Chipotle, I’ll be in prime shape to do my job and taste great while doing it.
Chipotle’s determination to make me, the tortilla, as simple and delicious as I can be is just another step on our journey to source, prepare, and serve the best ingredients we can find—because the best flavors come from the simplest, whole ingredients. Now if you will excuse me, I have some major stretching to do. Naturally.