Since the start of summer, chef Israel Alvarez has been making waves across Victoria using traditional techniques to produce authentic, high quality nixtamal tortillas and masa dough. His products offer a flavour, aroma, texture, and complexity far beyond that of a standard flour or corn tortilla.
In the short time since the first MaiiZ pop-up, chef Alvarez’ tortillas have made their way onto a variety of restaurant menus and have become available to purchase at a selection of local retailers as well as the Maiiz Mercado.
And while every kitchen Alvarez takes up residence in tends to adopt his affable effervescence, this week, MaiiZ announced that it had found a new home for the winter in Victoria’s historic Fan Tan Alley. Located in the Kid Sister Ice Cream shop, the new home of MaiiZ will feature chef Alvarez’ nixtamal tortillas and masa dough, reusable tote bags, and Halfwhistle cheese curds.
"I have been looking for a space of my own for a while, and when I heard that my friend Brett’s kitchen closes for the winter, I knew we could both benefit from using the shop,” Alvarez explains. “This year has been hard on everyone, and if we as small business owners can support each other it will make our community stronger.”
Additionally, in honour of the new location, chef Alvarez has also announced a new partnership with fellow Victoria-based chef and The New Hotness founder, Nick Maharaj.
The New Hotness, whose culinary philosophy closely resembles that of chef Alvarez, works with local farmers to produce a rotating lineup of unique, small batch hot sauces. The first The New Hotness sauce to feature on the shelves at MaiiZ is the 7 Pepper Okanagan Peach and Burnt Garlic.
"I have been embraced by the Victoria community since moving here last year, and I have discovered so many artisanal producers that work in the area. I want to be able to use my platform with MAiiZ to share their work and the products I enjoy the most," says Alvarez. "Nick Maharaj is a talented young chef, and I love his New Hotness hot sauces. It was a natural choice to partner with him when I wanted to add a hot sauce to my offerings. He uses locally grown ingredients which fits perfectly with my philosophy of supporting local farmers."
MaiiZ is open daily from noon to 6 p.m. A full list of Victoria retailers and restaurants that carry MaiiZ products can be found online.