Mexico: Traveling for an Ephemeral Restaurant - The360 Travel

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  • Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Mexico: Traveling for an Ephemeral Restaurant

    Mexico: Traveling for an Ephemeral Restaurant

    Our culinary critic made the trip to Tulum to take part in the gastronomic experience that the team of the Danish restaurant Noma, led by chef René Redzepi, has recently proposed. Here are the lessons she learned from it.


    The adventure is now over. The Danes from Noma, Copenhagen's famous award-winning restaurant, who has taken a totally new look at the idea of ​​cooking exclusively with regional products, have packed their bags. Those who had settled in Tulum to be able to cook locally both citrus fruit and avocado said goodbye to the jungle where they held for seven weeks a short-lived restaurant.

    Jolly table planted in the jungle, under the stars, probably the most photographed passenger establishment in the history of social networks - 5749 images on Instagram at the last check - Noma Tulum has made much of him.

    What should we remember?

    That cooking moves travelers!

    And that the passion for a good restaurant brand, like Noma (but that could be true of many others), allows to fund such crazy projects, to create a gastronomic destination parallel to the main one, at the other end of the world . Noma, says his boss Rene Redzepi, was able to move his troops from Scandinavia to the Yucatan Peninsula because the places in the ephemeral restaurant were sold in advance almost automatically, in less than two hours, as for a concert rock! The project budget: US $ 600 per person per meal, for 80 seats, two services per evening, five nights a week, for seven weeks. Do the math.

    Long live the eyes outside

    Mexico already has a good number of chefs at home and elsewhere, starting with Ricardo Olvera (Pujol) and Daniela Soto-Innes (Cosme and Atla), to name only my favorites. But by attracting crowds to Tulum, Noma has also clearly drawn attention to the quality and diversity of Mexican products.

    We ate divine octopus braised in the corn leaves with miso pumpkin seeds, also an immensely complex mole prepared by Rosio Sanchez, the former pastry chef of the Noma, American of Mexican origin.

    There was also stuffed chocolate sorbet in grilled peppers, grasshopper cactus, ant eggs, cocoa fruit pulp cocktails, deliciously smoked mezcal, coconut shell in jelly with fish eggs ... Cultural exchanges cause the shock of ideas. It was both disconcerting and sublime. And it is obvious that the exercise will leave traces.

    Yes, it's expensive, but...

    The meal cost US $ 600 (about $ 1000 CAD with taxes, etc.), but do not we often hear about sports maniacs who pay this kind of price for crucial games? More and more, tourists are looking for unique experiences. That was all one. The idea is likely to make little ones. This year, so far, I've been to two spectacular ephemeral restaurants, Noma in Tulum and WastED in London (Dan Barber's exercise on food recovery), and both were memorable experiences. I know it's not always the case, but there are magical opportunities to seize around the world. Right here, I think for example the meals organized by Postrivoro in Emilia-Romagna or Fulgurances in Paris or even Outstanding in the Field in North America. Yes, I found my experience in the fields a little expensive for what was offered, but the concept, preparing to eat an outdoor meal, right on the farm, is spectacular.

    Development aid

    Yes, the price of Noma was prohibitive for many people in the place, to say the least. But out of 90 employees participating in the experiment, 25 were Mexican cooking students. And several craft workers - starting with the ladies who made the tortillas every night - were used to set up the restaurant in the rainforest.

    All the furniture and objects of the ephemeral restaurant were produced by people from the peninsula: cabinetmakers, ceramists, weavers, etc. So the tourist experience of some becomes the economic development of others.

    And here?

    Is there room for ephemeral restaurants of this type in Quebec? With chefs from far away? So much. Imagine that in Charlevoix or in the green hills of the Eastern Townships or on the riverfront en route to the Gaspé Peninsula. Are we launching the idea overseas?

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