When it comes to fine dining, Mexican chef Enrique Olvera has a bone to pick with food waste. The chef, who runs the acclaimed Pujol in Mexico City and the recently opened Cosme in New York City, says a lot needs to change.
"Coming from a fine dining background with Pujol, there are many things that I think are really wrong with fine dining. First of all, there’s a lot of waste. There are a lot of stupid decisions being made in fine dining restaurants just for the sake of aesthetics.
When you cut things into geometrical patterns that are not present in nature, it doesn’t affect the flavour. When you chop onions into small dices they cook evenly, so that makes sense, but there were a lot of decisions that we made in Pujol that were based on showing off."
Pork dish at Pujol
Olvera made these statements during a recent visit to London to celebrate Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants. This philosophy explains why he wanted to take Cosme, a casual restaurant, in the opposite direction of his Mexico City restaurant which ranks 20th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and sixth in the Latin America list.
"The food in Cosme is very simple – it’s driven by flavour and logic. It’s not driven by trends or what’s cool, it’s something that’s a lot more honest," he said, explaining that the simplicity extends to the restaurant's cement floors and the lack of decoration. "The idea is that the only thing that matters is the food you’re eating and who you’re eating with."
Olvera also had plenty to say about the challenges of opening his restaurant in New York City. Swing by the World's 50 Best blog to watch his full speech.