A baby corn dish at Pujol A baby corn dish at Pujol, one of the best restaurants in the world. new world review

Mexico set to become a gastronomic force

Tourism secretary has high expectations after three restaurants rank among top 50

That Mexico has three restaurants rated among the top 50 in the world is recognition that Mexican cuisine is world class, says Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

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Interviewed by Adela Micha of Grupo Imagen, Ruiz Massieu said she has no doubt that Mexico will become “the gastronomic force of the decade.”

The restaurants that made the Diners Club/San Pellegrino top-50 list were Pujol, No. 16; Quintonil, No. 35; and Biko, No. 37. All are located in the Polanco district of Mexico City.

“The three are restaurants that have a distinct offering of what is Mexican gastronomy,” said the tourism secretary, adding that the awards have a lot to do with how the world is coming to see Mexico.

She said Mexico will host the Latin American version of the awards event as part of a strategy to position the country as a culinary capital.

Another strategy is the inclusion of women in poor regions of the country into tourism value chains. Ruiz Massieu said meetings are planned with UN Women, an agency of the United Nations, to determine the means to incorporate such women into those value chains through Mexican cuisine.

“. . . women are the custodians of so many of our traditions . . .” she said.

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The top-50 list of restaurants is based on a poll of 972 experts in gastronomy who form what is called the Diners Club Best Restaurants Academy. Each member casts seven votes for their favorite restaurants of the previous 18 months and the results are compiled by an independent firm.

The academy offered a written description of each of the winners; here are excerpts from what they had to say about those from Mexico.

At Pujol, chef and owner Enrique Olvera uses modern techniques and native ingredients to recreate ancient dishes and invent new ones showcasing unusual flavor combinations. Huitlacoche, or corn fungus, and powdered ants are among the ingredients.

Jorge Vallejo at Quintonil, who trained under Pujol’s Olvera, focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients, forgotten herbs and grains and indigenous produce. Many of the restaurant’s ingredients come from its own urban orchard, 30 meters away.

At Biko, French-born Mikel Alonso and Bruno Oteiza and Gerard Bellver from Spain fuse Basque flavors with Mexican ingredients that result in “a dazzling but fun repertoire,” such as foie gras candy floss and geometrical milk origami.

Source: Excélsior (sp)

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