Iconic Trio Goes from Trumpet Lovers to Master Meat Handlers

Alumnus and UCSD freshman Farhad Taraporevala lays down meat on the grill, one of the most important roles to ensure that each bowl or burrito has the authentic Chipotle taste. As the most experienced worker of the trio, Taraporevala introduced his former bandmates to work at the Woodbury Town Center Chipotle.

The vibrant colors of fresh vegetables, the sounds of sizzling meat and the scent of Mexican spices accompanied with sour cilantro immediately catch our attention upon entering Chipotle Mexican Grill. 

At first glance, the location might seem like your everyday go-to restaurant; but if you look close enough, the location at Woodbury Town Center carries something offered at no other chain: burritos and bowls served with the teamwork of seniors Alex Choi and Theo Kim and alumnus and UCSD freshman Farhad Taraporevala, a trio developing their special friendship for over two years.  

I guess I will compare Theo to our corn because I really like our corn, and it’s sweet with a little hint of spice, and it’s very good. Alex, I will compare to our chicken, which is our most popular meat.”

— Farhad Taraporevala

First knowing each other as trumpet section members of the Pride of Portola, the trio’s relationship advanced through frequent hangouts outside of school, including weekly Friday movie nights (such as “Kung Fu Panda” marathons and “Train to Busan” watch-parties) and pool barbeque gatherings (with plenty of hot dogs and ice cream). 

Although their gatherings have been halted due to the pandemic, the group has stayed in touch by hitting up the group chat once in a while with memes and jokes.

“One of my favorite memories with them was our trip to Reno for jazz band in sophomore year,” Choi said. “We shared a hotel room and just had a fun time staying up talking and playing music together, and I guess that bond has stuck with us since then.”

Taraporevala said it has been especially easier for him to stay in contact with high school friends because he has not been on campus yet due to the pandemic. Starting his job in August 2020, Tareporevala knew it would be a perfect opportunity to integrate his friends when they looked for a job. 

“Genuinely, I hope to stay in contact with them even when I’m in college, because we’re all going to separate colleges,” Kim said. “I’m just hoping that these last few months before I go, I can work at Chipotle, and I can still hang out with them outside of work.”

Currently, Taraporevala works as a certified trainer and works on the grill while Kim and Choi work as front of the house crew members. The three plan to leave around August for college, where it is predicted they will be allowed on campus. Taraporevala plans to transition his work experience to a different Chipotle near UCSD after his leave.

“I’d say that definitely knowing them well means that we can have a fun time joking around, but they also know when I’m serious, and we have to get something done,” Taraporevala said. “We can also just flip that switch and get to work, so I think that’s wonderful, and I think that’s just a work environment we have in general at the store.”

The iconic trio’s bond has only grown stronger with the additional memories they form as Chipotle workers. Whether it be at a movie night enjoying their company or at work creating an unmatchable team dynamic, the trio continued to build their friendship.

To the question, if you could compare Alex and Theo to one Chipotle ingredient, what would it be? Taraporevala answered with a chuckle. 

“I guess I will compare Theo to our corn because I really like our corn, and it’s sweet with a little hint of spice, and it’s very good,” Taraporevala said. “Alex, I will compare to our chicken, which is our most popular meat. Those are my two decisions. I don’t really have a great reason for it, but I do like both the chicken and the corn.”