A husband and wife bring their heritage – and their food – to Fort Collins
By Naomi Hillmer and Tenny Kim
FORT COLLINS, Colorado — When Azael and Morgan Chable started their business in Fort Collins, they had no idea it would thrive until today.
“If I fail, I try,” Azael Chable said with a laugh.
Azael Chable found himself working as a dishwasher when he first immigrated to the United States as a teenager from his small town in Yucatán, Mexico 15 years ago. Although he has no previous experience in the restaurant industry in Mexico, Chable has strived to climb the culinary ladder. He eventually fell in love with cooking and became the manager of an upscale restaurant in San Francisco, California.
While in San Francisco, Azael Chable met his wife, Morgan Chable, at the Sea Breeze Cafe and Restaurant, where they both worked.
From there, the two decided they wanted to settle down and get away from city life. Eager to develop their personal interpretation of Mexican cuisine, they decided there was no better place to start than Morgan’s hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado.
The Chables saved their money, packed their bags, and set out hoping to build something of their own.
“I was crossing I-25 and I just felt like I was going to cry,” Azael Chable said.
After moving across the country, Azeal Chable was overwhelmed with the uncertainty of change. He left a stable future, but knew he wanted to do something else and the change was good.
Arriving in Fort Collins, Azeal remarked “there are no empanada places in this little town”.
With this little idea and the help of Morgan Chable and his family, the two began the elementary process of starting their own business.
Their business, My Empanadas, became the perfect culmination of Le Chable’s roots – Azael’s time in Mexico and his experience with empanadas and the borders of the very town Morgan grew up in.
“These recipes that I bring here are my mother’s recipes…I also add my ideas, we mix them and we bring these flavors,” said Azael Chable.
However, they found it difficult to start a restaurant in a city with fierce competition from local food startups.
“We started out making empanadas in our house, they looked awful, we tried to sell them on construction sites competing with the burrito lady, and no one wanted them, they wanted burritos. .. it was really tough,” Morgan Chable said.
Knowing they needed to stand out from the crowd, the Chables began working on their recipes to find unique ways to market empanadas. They found they had to look no further than where they started – their own personal experiences and abilities.
After a few months where Azael was primarily responsible for making empanadas, Morgan decided to incorporate his Dutch European heritage and create dessert-style empanadas.
“Now desserts make up half of our empanadas,” Morgan Chable said.
Completely based on the two origins of Le Chable, My Empanadas began to take shape offering a unique service of multicultural delights.
“We brought something to Fort Collins that wasn’t really there,” Morgan Chable said.
Despite a shaky start, Le Chable’s perseverance paid off. Six years after moving to Fort Collins, they now have two locations.
“Starting from the bottom and going up step by step makes you really proud to own a business,” Morgan Chable said.
“I love when people buy my empanadas, they’re happy, they’re eating something special,” said Azael Chable.