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By Sarah Marie Beck
Juli and Juan are a dynamic duo, in life and the kitchen. Juliana Trujillo (“Juli”), Chef and Food Artist of the duo’s endeavor, Juli y Juan, has already done things in her career most only dream of, including owning her own restaurant in Playa del Carmen – Riviera Maya, and being the Executive Chef at the Mexican Embassy in the U.S., to name a few. Her husband, Juan Rodrigues, is the Sous Chef, Art Director & Health Advisor at Juli y Juan, holds degrees in Art and Marketing as well as a Masters in Biological Naturist Medicine.
With their love of food, fun, friends, and each other, the “Share the Love Tour” was born in 2015. The adventure included a culinary journey through South and North America, sharing their love of food and their exceptional culinary talents with old friends and new, through visits and events. Fort Collins was one of the stops.
After the tour, Juli, Juan, and their pup, Penelope, decided to put down roots in Fort Collins, creating a reputation for delectable, healthy, and artistically-executed food, a welcome addition to the Fort Collins food scene.
I contacted Juli and Juan to see if I could interview them. They suggested we meet at my house and they would prepare some tapas or “fun bites,” a sampling of their culinary portfolio. But first I had a sample of Juan’s design portfolio when I received a beautiful, elaborate and personalized digital menu to choose “fun bites” from; the mouthwatering food photos in the menu made it so difficult to choose, but a problem I was happy to have. Juan and Juli said “invite friends, let’s cook, drink wine, and get to know each other.” I said, “perfect.”
Juan and Juli arrived at our home in their chef whites with plenty of fresh ingredients, hugs, and their chocolate lab, Penelope. Penelope, our dog, and the neighbor’s dog frolicked happily in the yard while we visited, drank wine, and cooked. We helped Juli and Juan in the kitchen when we could, then sat down together to enjoy the best of food and company.
Our favorite dish of the night was the Nikumans, or “Steamed Buns.” They were fluffy and light, stuffed with pork and veggies, and served with a spicy serrano soy sauce. The buns were impassioned and perfectly balanced on the palate. The first bite brought a table full of riotous laughter, wine and friends to a brief pause. Reflecting on each flavor and how they combine in perfect harmony, Juan so aptly put it, “Each ingredient is like a musical note.” In my opinion if Juli and Juan’s Nikumans were a song, they would go platinum.
I could describe every dish Chefs Juli and Juan made that night, but you can have the experience yourself- firsthand through hiring the duo for private events. Additionally, Chefs Juli and Juan, in collaboration with Mountainside Events, will present “Get Up & Get Out” starting this month. This is a pop-up dining experience where the location is different each time, themed, with live music, and, for added intrigue the location is unknown until the day of. Events will be held through early fall. For more information, visit: juliyjuan.com or mountainsideevents.com.