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JORGE VALLEJO « the dishes, the people, the music, the smiles. That’s what Quintonil has always looked for.” “My wife and I always have believed that the main thing we want to communicate is that everyone is welcome to an experience that refers them to family values and to the cultural diversity of Mexico. We seek to be hospitable not only with the commensal but with the ingredients we prepare, it is about respecting our entire context, and that will necessarily reflect on the experience in the restaurant. The interior design is warm and sober, we do not want it to attract much attention so that everything can dialogue and communicate the same ideas.” The warm hospitality paired with moreish Mexican morsels has made Quintonil one of the best restaurants in the world. Gaining this level of reverence took many years of hard work from the chef, who trained under Enrique Olvera at Pujol and René Redzepi at Noma before opening Quintonil in 2012. Luckily for diners, Jorge stepped on to the culinary scene just at the right time, when Mexico was in the midst of a gastronomic revolution. “I became a chef at a specific moment in which Mexican gastronomy was having a global and national boom. Before, in Mexico, it was conceived above all in the middle and upper classes that French or Spanish cuisine, for example, were the standard-bearers of fine restaurants. Fortunately for me, my career began at a time when young chefs and cooks understood that Mexican gastronomy is as rich and proactive as anyone else in the world.

RIGHT Roasted “cuitlacoche” potato sauce, chile serrano and trout roe.

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“Quintonil began as our life project and could only have emerged in Mexico City. It is a concept that represents in some way the many gastronomic influences that the inhabitants of this megalopolis receive. We have evolved to the extent that we have dialogued not only with local influences, but we have also invited many chefs in the world who have taught us how they work from their tradition and context.” “In this sense, while Quintonil has maintained its spirit and proposal throughout these years, its transformation has come from innovation in technology and ideas. We no longer only prepare dishes, but we have created and experimented with the techniques and ingredients to achieve our own unique proposals.” The inspiration behind Jorge’s dishes is multi-faceted, but whether it’s a great ingredient that sparks the creative journey of a dish, or a memory, a poignant experience or even the everyday kitchen grind, the dish will always pay homage to Mexico City and its rich tapestry of flavours. “The menu is inspired by Mexico City and in the memory that I have of some dishes in my family. We have dishes that were flagships, such as the huauzontles, which is a quelite that has been on the menu since the beginning of Quintonil, and we had chilacayotes with mole for a long time. In them we conjugate the family culinary memory with that of Mexico City through its simplicity and unique flavours. “I also have a special affection for crabmeat tostada and beef tail, because it is an exquisite dish of traditional street food in the capital.” »

Profile for FOUR Magazine

FOUR Vol. 3 2019  

FOUR Vol. 3 2019