Thanks James Beard Foundation for including me, I will forever be honored. It is not everyday that a chef like myself gets to work with multiple Michelin-starred chefs like Pierre Gagnaire or Heinz Beck. Even crazier, it’s not everyday that a chef like myself gets to compete against such acclaimed chefs.
I was paired with multiple James Beard award-winning chef Jimmy Schmidt. Together we spend a week in La Quinta developing the next iconic dish for the Waldorf Astoria. Up against four other duos of highly-celebrated chefs, we presented our final dish and research at the Waldorf Astoria New York a few months back. The competition brought out the best in each team. And the world of food is better because of it. Though Jimmy and I did not win, we all learned a lot from the experience and best of all I met a few people who I added to my list of inspiration.
You have one of the best rated restuarants in Southern California. How did the restaurant come together?
To be honest it’s still coming together, even moving into year three. The restaurant industry takes a special kind of person. I am lucky that I have two people who I can count on to make it happen—my partners Robin Chopra and Travis Hoffacker. Some of what we have accomplished has been on account of luck while the other things have come from our dedication to the craft, long hours, sacrifice and the inability to settle. [sociallocker id=”5762″]
What is the style of food offered?
We have been defined as a Mexican Restaurant, Latin gastro pub and Pan Latin restaurant. Personally, I don’t believe we fit into any of these categories. What we are working hard to create is a new style of cuisine influenced by Latin America, our upbringing and our formal French training. What we offer at Corazon Y Miel is a new style of cuisine that we call Alta California. The only way to understand it is to come out and try it for yourself.
How did the partnership with Montejo come about?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Montejo and when this opportunity arose, I was happy to participate. Montejo beer is a rooted Mexican beer, that is crisp and refreshing. I felt that my casual cooking style matched well with their campaign so we began to work.
What makes Montejo so unique? Montejo is a light golden lager that has brewing traditions in Mexico dating back more than 100 years. Since its creation in the Cerveceria Yucateca, S.A. in Merida, Yucatan by Jose Ponce Solis, Montejo and its brewmasters have provided the country of Mexico with a beer that represents the experiences and attributes of the country where it was born. Mexican beers account for nearly 60 percent of imports, so Montejo is responding to consumer demand. Montejo prides itself in being authentically Mexican, celebrating Mexican culture, tradition and its people.
How has the response been from Americans to this beer? Montejo was first introduced in the United States in September 2014 and is available in 12 states—California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Nevada and Florida. Thus far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, as consumers throughout these regions appreciate an authentic and distinctly Mexican lager.
Who is the typical Montejo beer drinker?
Montejo’s core consumers are Mexican and Mexican Americans.
What do you eat when you drink Montejo beer?
Harkening back to our roots, Montejo goes well with Mexican cuisine, particularly regional dishes from Merida/Yucatan and is perfect for parties and outdoor refreshment. [/sociallocker]