All tagged enrique olvera

MAD 2012 w/ Enrique Olvera

Mexican cuisine remains one of the most interesting cuisines in the world, and is finally starting to get the attention that it deserves. This past July, I had the honor of introducing my close friend Enrique Olvera of Mexico City's Pujol at the MAD 2012 conference in Copenhagen. Below is the video of our presentation, as well as the transcript. Enrique Olvera:

Good afternoon everyone, I would like to first thank Rene, Ali and all the staff at noma and MAD for the hospitality and opportunity to share our work in one of the most exciting food events in the world.

I would also like to introduce you to Alex Dzib, alex has been part of our family for a few years now and he will be assisting me in the cooking demo.

And last, but defenetly no least is Mr. Adam Goldberg, a foodwriter from NY that has visited Pujol at least twenty times in the past year. So because I can be as objective about my cuisine as my mother can be objective about me and because he has beaten the record of most visits in a year, I wanted instead to let Adam talk about his experience at Pujol and I will talk about our thought processes a bit later.

Pujol Revisited

What is authentic Mexican cuisine? Ancient dishes like bírria, menudo, and chochinita pibil are the easiest to categorize as authentic because of their age, but what about colonial dishes like chiles en nogada or mole poblano? Tacos al pastor and tacos de pescado were brought to Mexico even more recently by Lebanese and Japanese immigrants. Are these dishes still "Mexican?" The more recent the dish, the trickier it becomes to call it authentic. Unless of course, we agree that Mexican cuisine is constantly evolving with new dishes being created all the time. In this sense, Pujol has evolved significantly since my first visit in 2010. It is now not only a restaurant that recreates ancient dishes, but a restaurant that pushes Mexican cuisine forward by creating new ones. In the beginning Pujol looked inward at Mexico's rich culinary history, cataloging, studying, and improving upon very old dishes. Pujol still does this but with more confidence, now looking outward as well, placing one of the oldest cuisines into the context of international dining.

Favorite Meals of 2011

It's been an incredible year filled with culinary experiences in locations ranging from Toluca to Tokyo. Choosing my favorite meals from 2011 was very different from choosing favorite dishes. To create this list, I examined the dining experience as a whole, factoring in the progression of dishes and overall story they told. I can only hope 2012 will bring as much culinary excitement as this year has. A few events in particular made 2011 one of the most exciting eating years in recent memory. The closing of El Bullí, perhaps the most hyped restaurant of the decade, passed the spotlight to other deserving restaurants like Quique Dacosta and Sant Pau for the first time. Hopefully 2012 will bring these restaurants the international attention they deserve. Sean Brock continued to promote the incredibly varied and delicious cuisine of the American South, inspiring other American chefs to look into the rustic cuisines of their childhoods and bring them to the dining room. Mexican cuisine started to gain more international attention, led by the refined cooking of chefs like Enrique Olvera. And chefs like Joshua Skenes reminded us that the simple cooking techniques are often the most diffiult, requiring unwavering attention and patience.

Favorite Dishes of 2011

In selecting a list of best dishes from 2011 I faced the difficult task of choosing those which stood out on their own, outside the context of the meals in which they appeared. My favorite dishes from this year are very different from my favorite meals, which will be shared in a shortly upcoming post. For me, 2011 was a year of many discoveries. It was the year I had the realization that Mexico is on par with some of the greatest culinary destinations of the world, including Japan, China, France, and Italy. It was a year where the food scene in Sweden skyrocketed forward and is now on track to catch up with neighboring Denmark. It was also a year where I realized one does not have to travel very far for exceptional eating. Some of the best restaurants are right here in the United States, and San Francisco, Charleston, and Chicago are leading the pack.


I've always liked Mexican food. But it wasn't until I actually visited Mexico, or more specifically met my girlfriend, that I learned what Mexican food really was. This was a cuisine without sour cream, chicken fajitas, "hard" shelled tacos, or tortilla salads. What I had thought was Mexican was actually Tex-Mex. Instead of piling on generous toppings as a mountain of salsa, guacamole, and cheddar cheese, the tacos I encountered were thin, delicate, and rarely adorned with more than a single sauce. In fact all the antojitos were smaller and simpler in comparison. On the other end of the spectrum, I learned, were the elaborate moles which sometimes have over a hundred ingredients. This is a country whose immense diversity of food spans from north to south, from the street into the restaurant. What makes Pujol special is its talented young chef, Enrique Olvera, who takes these nostalgic Mexican dishes, de-constructs, improves, and later re-assembles them for the dining room.