A Taste of Home: A Grotto Short Film

Eufemia Lopez used to cook for Michelin Star Chef Rick Bayless. She eventually decided it was time to start her own restaurant — and put her mother’s mole recipe in the center of it all. She now runs Mis Moles in Chicago alongside her family, feeding customers with the recipes she learned growing up.

“My mom — she make the best food, and I learned from her.”

Video Transcript

A Taste of Home

Eufemia Lopez: My mom…very, very strong. And she had a big family too. So I remember everything from work hard — and everything. And I try — like her. I try to do everything like her because I work so hard here for many, many years in the kitchen. I’ve learned a lot of food in other jobs, but when I wanted to open my restaurant — before I’d think, “Sell all the food.” But now, I say, “Why?” I have the best recipes, the best recipe is home.

(Family gets ready to open up the restaurant for the day)

We have three different moles: Mole Rojo, that’s what I’m making, Mole Verde, and Mole Pipian. Everybody in Mexico…it’s fantastic. Everybody like the Mole Rojo.

(Getting ingredients together) Okay, now the bananas.

Producer Josh: Do you guys feel like you have a family pride to work together in this way?

Maritza: We’re always together. We’re always together. When my mom decided to open this restaurant, she said, “Are you guys all in it? Are you guys going to have my back? Are you guys going to be here?” And we all said, “Yes.”

Julio: We all have our regular jobs, and then we come straight here just to support everybody.

Eufemia: We have to make it a little sweet. The banana and the chocolate and the raisins — it’s going to be a little sweet. Bay leaf. A little cinnamon.

Maritza: And she is one of the only ones to memorize all the recipes. So she’s one of the only ones. So when we go to parties or when we celebrate something, my mom is the one that makes the mole that reminds of grandma.

Julio: Every birthday or Christmas a mole was our traditional to-go dish.

Eufemia: Have to fry all peppers. So it’s four different peppers. Bread. The crackers, peanuts, sesame seed, pumpkin seeds, and the bread is going to make it a little heavy. Okay.

The other stuff is ready. Only the chocolate is going to be melted with the stuff more. When I lived with my mom, I started cooking by when I turned 13–14 years I started in the kitchen, because we have 13 brothers, so a big family. So everybody had to work. So my mom, she make the best food, and I learned from her.

Producer Josh: Your daughter was saying you work really hard too. So I think that came across.

Eufemia: Okay, so — when this and everything ready…I’ll wait maybe one hour. The chicken broth.

(Blends ingredients together, pours into bit pot)

Maritza: I think faith is what makes us strong. It has made us really strong because we never lost faith. We came here with — my mom came here with her American dream. She came here, she’s like, “I know I can do it. I’m going to trust in this.” And she made it.

Julio: To see it finally be one of her dreams coming true — she’s helped us so much that there’s no way we couldn’t even be here. That’s what makes the family. That’s what makes family.

Eufemia: So that’s why. And I’m so happy because I have my daughters, my son, my everybody. My family here every day, and my sisters on the weekends, so… happy.

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