All tagged mexican cuisine

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.

Frontera Grill

Mexican cuisine is extremely regionalized; each state has its own specialties and variations on national dishes. A lot of this regionalization is due to Mexico's diverse climate. Tacos al Pastor, the late night street food where pork is sliced from a spit and layered in a corn tortilla with pineapple, originates far from the ocean in Mexico City where swine is abundant.. Ceviche, campechanas, and seafood cocteles can be found in coastal states like Baja California and Sinaloa, where fresh fish is plentiful. Tinga, a dish where shredded pork is placed in a clay pot and stewed with chipotle, tomatoes, onion, and garlic, can be traced back to the farms of landlocked Puebla. Given this incredible specialization of regions and their dishes, creating a single pan-Mexican restaurant that tackles all of the regions while maintaining quality, is no easy task.

Mariscos Cepy's

Mexico's rich and diverse cultural history lends to uncountable regional dishes. Nearly every small town across the country has its own specialty or rendition of a National dish. Recently added to the UNESCO world heritage list, Mexican cuisine has at once some of the most complicated and simple recipes in the world. This dichotomy of complexity -- where hundred-ingredient mole sits alongside raw fish garnished with nothing more than lime and salt -- makes Mexican food so incredibly unique and delicious. In coastal towns like Los Mochis, Sinaloa where seafood is easily caught, simple shellfish becomes the crux for local cuisine. (Actually as it turns out, Los Mochis has great just about anything.) It's no coincidence Chicago's Rick Bayless named his seafood restaurant Topolobampo after the port a few miles west of the city center. Don't expect anything fancy: in Mexico, flavor and ambience are often inversely correlated.

Mariscos Cepy's, a small restaurant at the end of a residential block, is always crowded. This is partly because of the exceptionally fresh shellfish, but also because Mexicans know how to take their time and enjoy the afternoon. There's never any rush here, and a few cold drinks and outdoor seat in the sun makes time stand still.


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.