TJ® Kitchen

Some might say a job in the Taco John’s Test Kitchen is one of the best in the world. Follow our Corporate Chef Bob Karisny and his team members Sissy and Carl as they stir up new menu creations and research today’s food trends. They might even throw in a few recipes.

Paletas, Mexican Frozen Fruit Pops

Paletas are frozen fruit pops on a stick, similar to our Popsicles but made from the freshest fruit of the season. There are two types of paletas: Paletas de Agua, which are typically made of fresh fruit, water and sweetener (typically sugar) and Paletas de Leche or Paletas de Crema, which are made of milk or cream with fresh fruit and/or flavorings like nuts, chocolate, etc.

Rubs & Marinades

Rubs are seasoning mixtures rubbed on meats before grilling to boost flavors; they could be spicy or smoky, etc. The best rubs enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing and are often blends of strong and mild spices and herbs. When you add oil or another wet substance, it is called a wet rub.

Elote - Sweet Corn on the Cob

Sweet Corn SalsaSummer is sweet corn season, and for a twist on your normal corn on the cob we have Elote. Corn is a native plant of Mexico, and there it’s a staple eaten in some form almost every day. There are many types of corn grown, and based upon the final corn they produce, it is assigned to different applications. Unlike in the United States, Mexico’s fresh corn (both on and off the cob) can be sweet or earthier in flavor depending upon the final dish it is used in.

Spicy, Yummy Mexican Influenced Recipes for Summer

Please accept our apologies for being remiss in our blog posts recently. As a gift to make up for our absence, we will provide four weeks of easy summer recipes with a Mexican flair. To start week one, we have “Three Easy Summer Salsas” you can use for chips, appetizers or to top great grilled items.

Bob Karisny, Corporate Chef, Taco John's®

Food is more than a job for me – it’s a passion. I would rather cook than do almost anything. Although I love all types of food and cuisine from around the world, the more I learn about Mexican food, the more I realize how interesting and flavorful it is.

Carl Blackbird, Test Kitchen Chef, Taco John's®

I first was in a restaurant kitchen when I was 14. Ever since that day I couldn’t get making food for others out of my blood. I tried other things but none gave me the same great feeling. It’s a job I never stop learning at and love learning at, one delicious bite after another.

Sissy Kramer, Research Manager, Taco Johns®

My start in fast food was back at the tender age of 17 years old. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and needed to pay my rent. Low and behold, 28 years later (it would be rude to do that math, you know) here I am.


Brett, Matthew and Harold, along with their teacher Mrs. Munroe, spent the day at the Taco John's® Franchise Support Center on Wednesday, May 21 to continue developing their winning entry - Fiery Cornbread Bites. They are the 2013-2014 Taco John's West Mex® Culinary Competition team from Encampment High School. Aside from winning scholarship money, the team was invited back to Cheyenne to work with Carl, Bob and me to get their menu item ready for the next step: research.

Flamin' Hot® Cheetos® Burrito creation = Lots of collaboration

So what does it take to make a menu item featuring an iconic ingredient like Flamin Hot® Cheetos® snacks? Lots of collaboration.

One of the first things we needed to learn was the characteristics of the Cheetos® brand. Their brand team shared with us the physical, emotional, attitudinal, sensory and behavioral characteristics their brand invokes. With this information we built prototypes that paired these attributes with our Taco John’s® characteristics. These prototypes were shared with the Pepsi/Frito-Lay innovation team to get their feedback.

Prepare for Greatness!

Something exciting is happening at Taco John's® today! Last year, Carl created a new menu item that includes Flamin' Hot® Cheetos® snacks. After conducting research with our guests, with the restaurant teams, and partnering with our vendors on the best prices available, we are happy to introduce the Flamin' Hot® Cheetos® Burrito!