What have been the strongest influences on your career and cooking style?
The strongest influences on my career and my cooking style are love, passion and women….pampering your loved ones with carefully prepared food is at the heart of Mexican culture. My mother, grandmother and aunts all taught me that the way to anyone’s heart is showing that you care for them with carefully prepared tokens of love…the simplest of food prepared with the utmost care and attention. This mantra applies in my family, in my restaurant, in my writing.
What period of your working career has been most formative in helping to shape your cook book?
Alicia Gironella Angeli has been my muse. Now 83 and no longer working, Alicia’s talent has had a significant impact on my work. We still travel together and work on projects together.
Describe the culinary style of your restaurants
My restaurants embrace traditional Mexican cuisine which is elegant and which epitomises the Mexican culture.
How has your work with the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture influenced your culinary style?
My time working with the Ministry of Agriculture was absolutely influential in my cooking style. Very often I would order specific ingredients to prepare for exhibitions, only to be let down at the last moment because of bureaucratic difficulties. I had to be resourceful, innovative, creative and rise to any culinary challenge. The work was demanding, often requiring me to work in the kitchen all through the night. I now always have a positive attitude in what I do. I also learnt that a chef must treat her suppliers kindly.
Do you still travel the world to find inspiration?
I am getting older now and don’t travel quite as much. Frequent travel to Japan – I have been nineteen times – and working with chefs there has taught me so much. I love the discipline, commitment and responsibility exhibited by Japanese chefs. I try to emulate this in my own work.
If you had to choose one Mexican dish with which to inspire and up and coming chef…..
I would choose Atapakua, a simple dish emanating from the Mexican corn fields. It is a simple soup which uses any fresh ingredients to hand.
What do you do when you are not working or promoting your cookbook?
My grandchildren and my teaching take up my time. I have four grandchildren and I continue to teach at the culinary university. I am also committed to my restaurants.
For whom is your cookbook intended?
Anyone who loves culinary adventure should read my cook book. It is for anyone – housewives, foodies – anyone who has a love of cooking and a willingness to try new things.
What is your favourite food?
Anything simple and prepared with love. Soups are probably my favourite.
How would you advise an aspirational cookery writer to gain experience?
Cook and travel and don’t give up!