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Arts & Culture

Only Here Podcast: A Chef Returns To His Border Roots

Chef Ruffo Ibarra Arellano is pictured in this undated photo.
Valorie Darling
Chef Ruffo Ibarra Arellano is pictured in this undated photo.
Ruffo Ibarra Arellano is a pedigreed chef. With his resume, he could be working at some of the fanciest Michelin-star restaurants in the world. But he chose to be here, running a restaurant in Tijuana instead. Because Ruffo loves his roots. And he wants his food to be infused with them. Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic is deeply impacting Ruffo’s work and his restaurant. It’s impacting all of us. But restaurants are being hit particularly hard. Ruffo’s team had just finished remodeling the restaurant a couple of weeks before the quarantine became the new normal. Even as many restaurants layoff a lot of their staff, though, Ruffo and his partners have assured their team that they have their backs. They’re committed to their safety and well being, even if that means taking a big financial hit. Who we are: Hosted by Alan Lilienthal Produced by Kinsee Morlan Sound design by Emily Jankowski Follow Us: https://www.facebook.com/onlyherepodcast/ https://www.instagram.com/onlyherepodcast/ Support Us: https://www.kpbs.org/donate Give us Feedback: 619-452-0228‬ podcasts@kpbs.org Photo: A picture of Ruffo Ibarra Arellano

Ruffo Ibarra Arellano is a pedigreed chef.

With his resume, he could be working at some of the fanciest Michelin-star restaurants in the world.

But instead, he chose to return to his border roots and open a restaurant in Tijuana.

Arellano loves his hometown. And a lot of the food he cooks is inspired by the blend of ingredients found in the border land he grew up in.

In a new episode of Only Here, a KPBS podcast about the unexplored subcultures, creativity and struggles at the U.S.-Mexico border, host Alan Lilienthal continues his conversation series by talking to Arellano about how the border has influenced his food and how the chef is navigating the coronoavirus pandemic.