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Santiago Kano

To say that Mexico City chef Santiago Kano is an internationalist is an understatement. Japanese/Irish by birth, Kano grew up in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest and has made travel one of his most highly prized kitchen tools. “Travel-based cooking is my version of “fusion,” he says. “I have been to over 60 countries in search of ingredients, techniques, and flavor combinations.” He’s hoping these culinary discoveries will merge in the project he’s currently creating: a field-to-table restaurant on a farm in Baja, California.

In Kano’s family, cooking seems to be in the genes—he’s the fourth family member to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America (he also studied at the Art Institute of Vancouver). He has a head for business as well, combining cooking with the Four Seasons Group in Hawaii, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Denver, and Costa Rica with being a founder of import and e-commerce company 21&Over, which features stylish kitchen and travel tools.

“I have the most Mexican soul you will ever see,” says Kano, who returned to Mexico City after his run as chef de cuisine at Jackson Hole’s modern American restaurant The Kitchen. Back home, he cooked for bar Ateneo, in the city’s Condesa district, was chef for catering company Culinary Focus, and began formulating ideas for what a restaurant would be that was truly his, with food that was grown sustainably but that tasted of many corners of the world, the place that’s now coming to life in Baja.