Curious Bites

Flavours of the Yucatan are coming Home with Hartwood's new Cook Book

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Flavours of the Yucatan are coming Home with Hartwood's new Cook Book
Photo Artisan Books

Hartwood’s inspiring young husband-and-wife owners, Eric Werner and Mya Henry, have written their first ever cookbook in tribute to their vibrant off-the-grid jungle restaurant. Published by Artisan the aptly entitled book Hartwood: Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucatán will hit the shelves on October 20th.

Werner and Henry embarked on their epic restaurant adventure five years ago after leaving their restaurant jobs in New York in search of their dream restaurant. What came next was one of the world's most inspirational restaurants, Hartwood, in a magical beach setting located at the edge of the jungle in Tulum, Mexico. Werner took to the kitchen knocking up modern rustic food whilst Henry manages front of house. Hartwood takes an in-depth look at the inside workings of this unique culmination.

With no kitchen walls and no running electricity all cooking in the restaurant is done by a wood-fired oven and grill and all ingredients are 'deeply rooted within Mundo Maya'.  And whilst the ethos is reflected in the book, never fear, the recipes have been made more accessible to those cooking in more 'modern' facilities without the authentic log fired oven.

"Every dish has a balance of sweet and spicy, fresh and dried, oil and acid, without relying heavily on wheat and dairy. The flavoring elements are simple—honeys, salts, fresh and dried herbs, fresh and dried chiles, onions, garlic—but by using the same ingredients in different forms" which explains the bright, wild flavours in the title.

Stunning accompanying photographs from Gentl and Hyers set the context of the restaurant's remote jungle location along with recipe photos and a dialogue about the daily challenges of running a restaurant ‘off grid’.

Noma chef René Redzepi has fittingly written the forward as an avid fan of the restaurant's "addictive" food. "Hartwood is the place I dream about" he says, “It’s the reason people line up for hours every single day to eat there, even though their vacation time is precious."

Todd Selby, photographer and illustrator echoes Redzepi's sentiments, “A labor of love, a dream restaurant in the jungle, a love letter to Mexico, and now a unique cookbook brings together Eric's soulful cooking and the incredible ingredients from the Yucatan.” 

You can pick up a copy of Hartwood: Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucatán from Amazon.

See more of Redzepi in this video where he explains his exciting plans for his new restaurant venture based on home-sourced local ingredients:

A Very Short Film About the Past, Present and Future of Noma from Rene Redzepi on Vimeo.

Hungry for more? Check out our other top restaurant cookbooks.

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