It is my pleasure to present to you two new members of Capella Ixtapa’s culinary team: Executive Chef Rurik Salazar, and Sous Chef Miguel Baltazar. Both are amazing chefs and I am excited to announce they are also both finalists for Mexico’s Chef of the Year contest! I had to sit down and get to know a bit more about their culinary passions and of course, share them with you.
Chefs, you clearly both have a love of food. How would you describe your cuisine, your culinary style?
RS: I enjoy experimenting with unknown products in a search for the highest quality and the most adequate technique to bring out the best of every ingredient. I am in a constant search of the perfect dish. My culinary style is Mexican, whether traditional or contemporary, it is what moves me. I also appreciate foreign gastronomies such as Thai. Regardless of their origins, I love Fine Dining Cuisine.
MB: I have great respect for traditional Mexican ingredients and techniques. I truly enjoy cooking with what I know best and taking it to the contemporary scene. My cuisine is bold, colorful and very Mexican.
I am so excited that you both are the finalists for the Chef of the Year contest, which will be held in June 2014! Will you be practicing together for the finals?
RS: I won the first national semifinal in the Bajío region last June. I am thrilled to be representing Capella Ixtapa along with Miguel. This is the most important culinary contest in Mexico, so it is amazing that we have both made it so far! Together we will put Capella Ixtapa on Mexico’s culinary map!
MB: I won the second national semifinal that included the states of Michoacán, Morelos and Guerrero. I loved the experience of being tested in every possible way. From my perspective what gives you edge is controlling your nerves. I am so happy to represent Capella Ixtapa and it is an honor to be head-to-head with my Executive Chef! I am sure we will practice together because at the end our goal is to finish first and second.
What innovations are you bringing to Capella Ixtapa’s dining experience?
RS: Our main goal is to create unique culinary experiences for our guests. This will come from having the best local ingredients in an attempt to showcase regional gastronomy. We will have seasonal menu changes through the year while keeping our signature dishes. My biggest professional challenge is to take Capella Ixtapa’s cuisine to a national and international spotlight.
MB: Chef Rurik and I have a very similar conception of food and I think great things are about to take place. I am bringing a fresh twist on traditional Mexican Cuisine. We are both bringing our own personal experience and vision to the food. We want guests to visit Capella Ixtapa because of our cuisine.
Fall has come to Ixtapa, and with it the new seasonal menu at Capella Ixtapa. What can the guests expect at our restaurants?
RS & MB: Be prepared to taste real Mexican flavors, from smoked cow’s tongue to black berry tamales. We are cooking a very interesting menu for A Mares, where we are combining gastronomy of the Guerrero’s coast with ingredients and techniques from central Mexico. Also not to be missed is our special set menu for the Tequila tasting, it is as Mexican as it gets!
For my final question, what is your favorite Mexican dish?
RS: There is nothing that takes me back to my hometown as much as a Mole de Caderas. Every year I wished for Día de Muertos to come because I knew I was getting a nice hot bowl of this flavorful soup made with goat’s hip and spine. It’s unique flavor comes from goats who have dieted on salt throughout their lives.
MB: I am a simple man and I love eating, but there is nothing that I enjoy as much as a big plate of Morisqueta made by my grandma. Steamed rice, slowly cooked beans, spicy tomato salsa, aged Cotija cheese and sour cream; every spoonful is a childhood memory.
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