Carrying on the family legacy
Raygoza recalls when was young, his parents would send him and his sister on a plane to visit their extended family in Zacatecas. There, he had a chance to lend a hand at his grandfather’s butcher shop where chorizo was made. "I was 5 or 6 years old, but since I was a kid I thought it was fun," Raygoza explains. “My grandpa said, ‘One day you're going to be in the meat business, so you've got to learn.’ And I said, ‘Yeah grandpa, sure.”
“My grandfather learned to make chorizo from my great-grandfather who was from Spain, and started making it when he arrived in Calera, Zacatecas,” Raygoza explains. His great-grandfather passed away not long after he and his wife immigrated to Mexico, and didn't have a chance to open a shop there, but would still make chorizos and hams and sell them from the window of their home. “My grandpa was the first one to have a carniceria in that little town, and then his brother opened one, and the Raygozas were the butchers of that town,” says Raygoza.
The family business rapidly expanded from there. His father had 12 brothers and sisters, along with 12 cousins from his great-uncle’s side. “Half went into the butcher shop business -- starting with little shops and now large packing facilities -- and on the other side, those that didn't, are in agriculture growing peppers or catering,” Raygoza explains.
Now that Raygoza has begun experimenting with Spanish-style chorizos as well, he appreciates that the family traditions have come full circle and sees his own journey as part of a long lineage. “It feels awesome, because I never thought I would be in the family business,” he says, but that’s an understatement of sorts. Rather than just being in the business, Raygoza’s taken his family’s traditions and reinvented them in his own image: LA’s one and only Chori-Man.
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