10/08/2012 02:20:00 PM
Game Changers: Stupak Continues Mexican Cuisine's Evolution With Push Project
One of the more obscure culinary superstars, Olvera heads Pujol — Mexico’s most highly regarded restaurant, located in Mexico City. Let’s just call him the Rene Redzepi or Alain Ducasse of our neighbors to the South. Mostly known to the culinary elite like the type that shelled out $125 for this dinner, chef Olvera fuses traditional Mexican cuisine with modern techniques (where they are applicable) and, like his cooking compadres on Friday, is not adverse to utilizing non-indigenous ingredients in his dishes. But he still reaches to heart of the Mexican table in his fare, which is in line with Empellon’s similar quest to advance Mexican food.
The chefs drew a crowd of diners that would turn a food television fanboy or girl into a fainting teenager at a Bieber concert. Top Chef regulars like Johnny Iuzzini and Elizabeth Falkner (whose New York pizzeria, Krescendo, is in the works), Melissa Clark from the New York Times, Vogue critic and frequent Iron Chef judge Jeffrey Steingarten and more hopped from table-to-table greeting each other between courses. This collaboration was something that they all wanted to experience and the diners at each table, these mouths which have surely been jaded by grand tastings and spoiled by chefs the world over, seemed to be lit from within while dining. Increasingly so as the meal carried on.
What makes this dinner notable is neither the chefs nor the food but the simple fact that Mexican cuisine, once the notion of cheap cheese-and-pork plates, could sell out a high-end dinner. Could inspire a hundred Instagram photos and another hundred tweets praising the meal and create the kind of frenzy that only a preview video would require.
At dinners like this (and on an average night at his Cocina) Stupak is infusing Mexican flavors with modernist techniques and inspired ideas. From stuffing sweetbreads into tortilla and painting his carrots with mole, we can't wait to see where he takes Mexican cuisine next.