EIA 014 Mexico’s Spicy Michelada in Xiamen’s Heart

Jeronimo Ramos


Jeronimo Ramos Leon is a Mexican national and an engineer by training. One of the warmest and friendliest people that I have met anywhere in the world. He grew up on the family cocoa farm in a place called Cardenas in the State of Tabasco, Mexico, which had a population of about 5,000. After school he moved to Merida in the state of Yucatan to study engineering.

After graduating he spent two years working for a traffic light company before starting with the company that he has remained with ever since. He started working in China in 1998 and moved permanently to Xiamen, China, in 2005 and has helped his company turnover move from $250,000 to $120,000,000 through his work in R&D, prototype sampling, production costing, quality control, customer complaint management and qualifying subcontractors. A wide range of responsibilities for a company that produces magnetic components for GPS, power meters, computers and solar products.

He has a love for cooking, which was initially expressed to family and friends and a chance meeting with Mexican teacher in Xiamen began the evolution of a Mexican restaurant. When a suitable site became available they set to work getting it ready with their own hard work and efforts. His background allowed him to set the standard for authentic Mexican food (not the fast food variety) and on opening day four times the number of people the restaurant could seat turn up to taste food from the heart of Mexico. This indicated that the restaurant would easily see it’s first birthday the most significant mile-stone for any restaurant. Since that day the restaurant has moved from strength to strength as indicated by customer reviews.

However after 3 months the partner who inspired the restaurant’s beginning decided that his life lay in his home country and left Jeronimo a life changing decision. After consulting with his wife they agree to continue. From the start support and help was provided by a close Chinese colleague that helped to navigate the complexities of Chinese bureaucracy.

In this conversation Jeronimo describes his key attributes that enables him to overcome the many challenges that working life in China throws at you such as staffing issues, which he has solved using these skills, and the supply of ingredients.

Restaurant hours are Monday to Friday for dinner and weekends for lunch and dinner.

Near the end he reveals his plans for the first time with work and his long time passion football and the meaning of La Catrina.

By the way Spicy Michelada

  • Worcester Sauce
  • Maggie seasoning
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • tomato paste
  • pineapple juice
  • orange juice
  • tomato juice
  • salt
  • paprika pepper
  • black pepper
  • white pepper
  • Tajin Pepper
  • lots of love…
  • and some secret ingredients…

Reviews for La Catrina on TripAdvisor.

The La Catrina Homepage.

Show Notes:

Introduction: [00:00 – 01:21]

1. Opening a Restaurant: [01:21 – 05:02]
– Challenges faced in opening a Mexican restaurant in Sherman.
– Finding a suitable location and offering authentic cuisine.

2. Unique Selling Points: [05:02 – 10:05]
– Lively atmosphere and friendly staff as key aspects of the restaurant.
– Emphasis on excellent customer service and creating a welcoming environment.

3. Managing the Menu and Staff: [10:05 – 19:13]
– Handling the restaurant’s menu and ensuring dish quality.
– Role of the chef and managing different shifts based on customer demand.
– Employment of part-time waitresses, often students, during peak hours.

4. Future Plans and Retirement: [19:13 – 25:43]
– Geronimo’s future plans and decision to retire when the company’s owner retires.
– Challenges anticipated during the transition of management.
– Commitment to the restaurant’s growth and success.

5. Competition and Lessons Learned: [25:43 – 33:54]
– Failure of a competing restaurant due to poor management.
– Importance of being actively involved in the business and staff training.
– Building good relationships with employees.

6. Personal Insights and Recovery: [33:54 – 34:47]
– Geronimo’s passion for soccer and recent leg injury requiring surgery.
– Linking retired footballers opening restaurants to his own situation.
– Reflection on personality traits and discussion of the anti-social test.

7. Wrapping Up: [34:47 – 35:01]
– Geronimo expresses gratitude for the interview opportunity.
– Restaurant name (“La Catrina”) and suggestion to check reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor.
– Brief description of the signature drink, the spicy Michelada.

Outro: [35:01 – 35:11]
– Host concludes the episode, thanks the audience for listening, and encourages subscription and website visit.

Note: The time codes are approximate and may vary slightly depending on the pacing of the conversation during recording.

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