When Chef Jon Young of Fresh Bistro
was just 12 years old, he climbed over the wall in his backyard just to lend a hand in a real restaurant kitchen. The restaurant was Casa Vieja, a long-standing Corrales establishment, and it was there where he first learned his knife skills, where he worked his way up from dishwasher to sous-chef, and where he first adopted the no-nonsense, classic-French-cooking sensibility that is diffused through his and his wife’s culinary ventures today.
Fresh Mobile Bistro and the newer Fresh Bistro in Los Ranchos are the type of eateries that exemplify what makes dining out in New Mexico so fun. Local farm ingredients aren’t fussed over, but the menu, free from the constraints of fleeting foodie trends, is completely in the hands of the chef, Jon Young. He’ll be the first to tell you that he does just as he pleases – in this case, traditional French cooking that takes inventive turns toward New Mexican and even Italian.
Jon is willing to venture that Fresh has the best eggs benedict in town. His “Caprese cakes” have been popular lately, featuring herbs from the rosemary bisque, fresh mozzarella and aged balsamic vinegar. Traditionalists can enjoy coq au vin and beef bourguignon, which can be made in small batches and are a favorite for those seeking out authentically European food. “Frenchiladas” are a play on the New Mexican classic, featuring cream sauce, chicken and sautéed mushrooms between thin crepe layers.
Melissa and Jon, the duo behind the Fresh Mobile Bistro and the new Fresh Bistro, began their journey in 2014, when they revamped a 1955 bus they found on Craigslist. After former lives as a highway post office and KOB news van, the bus was outfitted to look like the famed Orient Express, complete with plush upholstery and white tablecloths. Since 2016, the Fresh Bistro crew has taken the 13-foot behemoth out and about at least twice a month, hosting intimate private dinner parties and reservation-only meals with a chef’s choice tasting menu that changes monthly. Melissa, who manages operations, is in charge of keeping the businesses running smoothly.