A group of young chefs from Oaxaca seeks to make Puerto Escondido a benchmark for good cuisine

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It’s not just about partying and surfing! Inspired by local ingredients such as tichindas, chile costeño or chicatanas, they seek to create a gastronomic route by the sea

Puerto Escondido.— Inspired by flavors such as tichindas, which are lagoon mussels, costeño and costeño amarillo chiles, chicatanas, peanuts, and sesame seeds, as well as other ingredients from the Pacific coast, a group of Oaxacan chefs decided to create a group of young chefs with a specific mission: to turn Puerto Escondido into a gastronomic destination and position it beyond its sun and sand attractions, or as a paradise for surfing, partying and nightlife.

“Puerto Escondido has become a very important destination in Oaxaca and Mexico and, as chefs from the Coast, the essential thing is to maintain our flavors. You have to make good local cuisine, keep Oaxacan food and take it to another level, with the service and doing things well”, explain its promoters.

Born in February 2023 from a group of friends, the promoters of the Puerto Gastronomic Cooks Collective are Shalxaly Macías and Quetzalcóatl Zurita, from the Almoraduz restaurant; Gerson Madrid, from Metxcalli; Esau Rendón, from the Shavanna group, and Saúl Carranza, from Agua Salá, who have decided to join forces despite not having government support.

When he talks about it, Quetzalcóatl Zurita sounds excited. He explains that after almost 10 years of work in favor of his internationally recognized restaurant Almoraduz, it is time to promote joint work in favor of the Port, which has been proposed as president of the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Food Industry Spiced (CANIRAC) in Port.

“In Puerto you see locals and foreigners living together, it is something very cool. It is a destination with a very spiritual wave that allows you to open up to new knowledge. In the end, we look for an exchange of learning, techniques and products, from local fishing or chili peppers, but reinterpreting them”, he says.

With this vision of exchanging and reinterpreting cuisine, but always based on local ingredients, among the actions of the collective, for example, is generating alliances and collaboration bridges with suppliers and producers from the coast, as well as training “that allows improving the quality in the hospitality industry and create support networks that promote the dissemination of local cuisine”.

It was with this idea that this April 1st the collective debuted with the Puerto Gastronómico Edición Fuego festival, in which four local chefs and five more guests participated with dishes prepared on the seashore with charcoal and firewood.

This festival, they explain, will function as a root to connect with other culinary events, as well as a link between the academic sector and the private initiative, particularly with schools where careers related to gastronomy are offered.

As an example, in Puerto Gastronómico Edición Fuego the chefs had the collaboration of 40 students from second, fourth and eighth semester from the Instituto Universitario de la Costa, UNIREU and the National College of Technical Professional Education (CONALEP) 158, who were coordinated by the chef Gladys Daniela Merino Rosaldo, head of the Food and Beverage specialty at CONALEP Puerto Escondido and a teacher at both institutions.

“This type of practice strengthens the theory they receive in their classrooms (…) they had the opportunity to attend the kitchen area, drinks bar, and customer service; in addition to coexistence with the nine chefs who represent techniques and processes from their kitchens of origin”, the organizers point out.

In addition, the collective of chefs has already linked up with the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels of Puerto Escondido, which shares the idea of taking the cuisine of the Coast with its aromas, flavors and traditional and contemporary dishes as a reference to exalt the destination. “Given the accelerated growth of the destination with greater connectivity and hotel occupancy, we will always support initiatives such as those of the cooks, collectives, and the local CANIRAC,” says Lizeth Rojas, the president.

“It is a great effort to generate a gastronomic route and to create a community, because when the tide rises, all the boats go up,” says Zurita, who is convinced that there are many people who bet on 100% gastronomic tourism.

Source: El Universal