It's all happening in Mexico, squad! You name it, and there is someone down in Mexico working on the next big thing in food, tech, education, and politics. During my recent trip down to Monterey, MX for the Paralelo Norte conference, I've never felt more connected and proud of my Mexican heritage. Traditional Mexican food is SO much more than just tortillas, rice, and beans - the thought and care they put into things like mole and the sourcing of ingredients for the freshest salsas proves they're finding their roots and embracing them. The whole food world needs to wake up and recognize that Mexican cuisine has become something to talk about!
Let's just get started and take a look at the list of the INCREDIBLE restaurants and chefs I visited when I was there, the food innovation that is happening right now is just so crazy amazing and I can't wait to go back!
- Aula Sabor (Chef Irving Quiroz)
- Sisu (Chef Cecy Gonzalez )
- Cien 28 (Chef Cecy Gonzalez)
- Goose Island (Marc Aceves)
- Pangea (Chef Eduardo Morali and Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain)
- WAY ahead of the curve and leading the innovation movement down in MX!
- Trust (Marc Aceves)
- Lula Gelato (Sofia Velez)
- Romero y Azahar (Chef Alfredo Villanueva)
- La Embajada (Chef ¨El Flaco¨ Juan Carlos Santana)
- Xoclad (Chef Sergio Rios)
- The MOST incredible chocolate store.
- Bread (Bernardo )
- They ship from the same wheat mill Tartine uses for their grains - aka SO above and beyond any expectations!
- Black Market (Daniel Valles)
- Bennell (Chef ¨Chuy¨ Jesus Elizondo)
- High end white bread - yes it exists, trust me! They use the best ingredients so their bread is elevated with the quality, care, and time they take to source only the best of the best.
- Comuna (Chef Andrea Martinez)
- Taqueria Orinoco
By FAR my favorite tacos! They humanely kill the pig in the morning, use the whole animal during the day and start all over the next day - everything is 100% made from scratch every single freaking day! It's not just as taqueria, they are spreading the message of how animals should be treated and killed with respect and responsibility. It's not a hard choice, they are just doing their part to have zero waste. It's a beautiful way to think.
- Theurel and Thomas (Denisse Theurel)
Beyond the food, this trip was so incredibly special because I was able to tell my story of my American-Mexican upbringing IN Mexico! I moved to Mexico when I was 18 and lived there for four years, went to culinary school and even worked as the national lottery announcer. Those four years were SO SO crucial because I felt like I found my sea legs - it helped me identify who I truly am. I sometimes felt like I didn't fit in growing up in America but coming to Mexico, I was embraced into the warm, friendly and vibrant culture. I realized it was okay to be different and embrace those things that make you unique.
So this opportunity speaking at the Paralelo Norte conference, one of the COOLEST events in Mexico that's specific to the culinary space all about uplifting Mexican culture and in front of over 1,000 people, just brought it all full circle.
While I was there I met students and young entrepreneurs at the ITAB (Instituto Tecnico Alimenticio) and ITESM (Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey) schools - two very influential schools that are shaping the movers and shakers of the next generation!
I spoke with the entrepreneurial class and it was so cool to tell them about the school I went to and announce the lottery slogan and see their eyes light up because they knew exactly what I was talking about - that has never happen in the US! I told them they should be so incredibly proud of their roots, now more than ever and you're so worthy and capable to get up, do stuff and make your dreams come true! Just like the message of Hedley and Bennett, we don't just sell aprons, we sell dignity. From the conference to speaking face to face with the people from my country, I've never resonated more with the place I love to call home.