The culinary world they dreamed of falls apart. A decade ago these seven chefs toured the best Michelin starred kitchens in the old continent to learn from the most renowned and passionate chefs and thus, through their knowledge, bring Mexican cuisine to a high level of exposure. But the pandemic imposed a new challenge on them: to survive the worst crisis in the history of the restaurant industry.
The cry for help: “we open or we die” was unified at the beginning of 2021 among restaurant owners in the Valley of Mexico, since around 13,500 restaurants have closed permanently due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic
Mariana Cárdenas Manríquez, 33. Photo: Quetzalli González
- Icon university (B.A. in Gastronomy). IGES (Speciality in gastronomic business). Worked in the Michelin-starred kitchens of chefs Martín Berasategui Lasarte. Alicia Foundation. Barcelona.
Excélsior talked for three months with Mexican chefs about how, while the kitchen was becoming an inspiration for a part of society, which turned its creativity upside down and became its refuge during the harshest moments of the quarantine, the restaurant industry was cracking down on the orb
Luis Javier Atayde, Ruth Paola Segura Hernández, Christian Donjuan, Angélica Pérez Ruiz, Mariana Cárdenas Manríquez, Gilberto Cabello and Víctor Gaona joined the most prestigious kitchens in France, Spain, Monaco and Ireland, with two and three Michelin stars, the highest distinction in the gastronomic world
Javier Atayde was part of the team of chefs and dressed one of the more than 70 Filipino women who were given to prepare the menu for the royal wedding between Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock, which took place between 1 and 2 July 2011 at the Grimaldi Palace in Monaco, under the tutelage of two of the world’s leading gastronomic figures: Alain Ducasse Zamorano and Joël Robuchon (deceased), chef with the highest record of Michelin stars in his restaurants with 32.
Luis Javier Atayde, 34 years old
- Centre of Higher Studies of San Angel (CESSA).
- He worked in the Michelin-starred kitchens of the chefs: Joël Robuchon, Martin Berasategui and Patrick Reingeard.
The wedding was described as “the biggest party in Monaco in 55 years”. The most relevant since Alberto’s parents: Raniero III and Grace Kelly
Now, in times of the pandemic, this type of celebration seems far removed from our present. These seven Mexican chefs were forged in Michelin kitchens, characterized by their discipline, passion, and careful treatment of products and local consumption.
They learned from great masters such as Martin Berasategui (twelve Michelin stars), Eneko Atxa (five Michelin stars), Quique Dacosta (four Michelin stars), Daniel Boulud (three Michelin stars), Alexandre Gauthier (two Michelin stars), Joel Garault (two Michelin stars), the brothers Jordi Roca and Joan Roca (three Michelin stars) and Ross Lewis (one Michelin star)
These chefs worked their way into these prestigious kitchens, either by knocking on many doors or by earning their place with a scholarship among hundreds of applicants, such as with the Fondation Turquois, where they arrived as interns, after graduating from the best gastronomy universities in Mexico: CESSA (Centro de Estudios Superiores San Ángel) and Centro Culinario Ambrosía in Mexico City or the Escuela Culinaria del Sureste in Yucatán
Among the values they cultivated for themselves in the kitchens of the old continent was that of humility, because, in spite of being one of the first generations in Mexico to graduate from gastronomy with the best averages, they came to occupy the lowest positions in the lines of preparation of dishes in Michelin restaurants, where at first they had to peel up to 850 potatoes a day or cut a thousand mushrooms or accept the assignment of removing the bones from fish. Those were the routines