An enlightening collaboration between two passionate and talented Latin chefs, transcending geographical limitations.
Centered only by a flickering candle, the plates took centre stage that evening, in a succession of culinary collaborations—impacted with culture, fueled by passion, and the minds of powerful chefs. For the evening, welcomed by Jefferson Alvarez to Cacao, was Mexico-based chef Jair Tellez. Well-regarded as one of Mexico’s greatest chefs, Tellez would be visiting for the World Chef Exchange—an endeavour which consists of a series of five collaborative dinners, featuring well-respected chefs selected from different points around the world.
Collaboration, particularly around food, often brings about conversation, smiles and growth by sharing, learning, experiencing. There is particular delight when food is the source; one that, in this case, transcends geographical limitations, and brings a fresh take the table, blending two Latin restaurateurs, seamlessly.
It was to be an eight-course meal that evening, plus pintxo (meaning snacks). Snacks were brought out on a large share slab, inviting two, three or four to take part. There was a delectable mix of Octopus chorizo, cod tostada, Cachapa queso quemado, Oyster aguachile, and beef sofrito. And beyond flavour was a fresh play on scale, texture, color, lending to a lovely start.
To follow, the “Vuelve a la vida” (loosely meaning: to bring back to life) —sea urchin chorizo clam. Served within context, and so delicious. Next, the Sturgeon Jerusalem artichoke, hedgehog mushroom. One of the favourite dishes to be sure, for its combination of flavours. Squab, chocolate, coffee, tonka would follow—a very rich and refined luxury that had guests lingering, and gliding even the last morsels of squab across the rich brown chocolate, to savour. And ending the mains was a beautiful and bold bison aside negro, yucca red chimichurri, which was perfectly paired with a stunning Merlot. It was decadent, yet balanced. Inspired, yet as if everything had always been assembled as it was...
The finale, though, was in the dessert—with surprising, tiny explosions within the palate—an enticing mixture of rich, cacao textures, decorated with ants, sourced from Mexico. And alongside, to challenge the final dish, with an incredibly fragrant, smokey drink of Hibiscus granite, blood orange mescal, grapefruit sorbet, worm salt. The result was stunning.