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Jorge Vallejo

Jorge Vallejo, chef-owner of restaurant Quintonil, is another of Mexico City’s crop of culinary masters and explorers of all things local, many of whom came from chef Enrique Olvera’s kitchen at Pujol.  (Vallejo’s wife and business partner, Alejandra Flores, is also formerly of Pujol, where she was director of operations.)

Committed to social responsibility and fastidious sourcing, Vallejo prides himself in seeking out small farms that do things traditionally to inspire his menus. Toward that end, he has traveled with fellow chefs throughout Latin America to research traditional foodways and to preserve these products and techniques in their own kitchens. He calls the initiative Orígenes.

The menu at Quintonil is proof of this historical research and of Vallejo’s varied experience. The graduate of the Centro Culinario de México began work with Princess Cruise Lines, then rose in the ranks as corporate chef at Hotel Condesa DF, Hotel Habita, and Hotel Distrito Capital, until becoming executive chef at Restaurante Diana at Mexico City’s St. Regis Hotel. Curious about the new Scandinavian influence of foraging and cooking at a hyper-local level, Vallejo spent a month cooking at Noma, in Copenhagen, before he and Flores built a restaurant of their own in Quintonil.

Now, on any given day, Vallejo’s menu may include an appetizer of huazontles (amaranth blossoms) in a creamy tomato sauce with Chiapas cheese; or seafood vuelve a la vida, scallops and beef tongue; or an entrée of pork in chile pasado (a stew of chiles preserved in the Chihuahan style). Preserving Mexican culinary traditions and inventing new ones is what Jorge Vallejo lives to do.

 

 

 

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