They use to say that Tijuana was just like a taco and a hamburger, just because of its bi-national status, but this old saying is starting to become just that, old.
Since the arrival of Baja Med, it has been creating a whole new zip code of the culinary map in Mexico.
Tijuana, which is located in the northwestern part of Mexico, is a city which is creating a different taste, due to its gastronomic quality in a high level kitchen, and is winning over the taste buds of many.
In the conference “Tijuana para el mundo” (Tijuana for the world), in the second encounter of Tijuana Innovadora 2012, the chef’s: Jair Tellez, Javier Gonzalez, Javier Plascencia, Martin San Roman and Miguel Angel Guerrero defended the new status that the state is currently living in.
“We do not need to get validated because we had to live like this, what happens in the Mediterranean culture we have it here”, said Miguel Angle Guerrero, chef at the restaurants “La Querencia” and “El Taller”, who also received a validation of authenticity from government authorities.
It’s been about 10 years now that in Tijuana we began to live this revolution, this culinary celebration that upon the eyes of the world it has found a place, and with a great flavor the experts are turning a lot of heads towards it.
The forest, desert, sea and the air in the regions have been generous with the chefs, who can used these as utensils to show that there is a lot that can be done with this background that is receiving its recognition.
“The doors of this area that has been explored very little are opening up, which made our imagination begin to run, and we recognized that this fertile land that was not being explored, was now our opportunity”, expressed Javier Plascencia of the restaurant Mission 19.
From the restaurant El Taller, Miguel Angel Guerrero on his behalf who is also one of the pioneers of this concept “Baja Med”, and has developed a great part of this project, said that he is happy that this will make a mark in cooking recipes, or at least see it as a small grain of sand.
“Baja Med exists because there was nothing like it, and if not considered a grain a sand, it has provided Baja California a cooking school it did not have before”, he stated.
The director of the cooking school “Arte Culinario”, Javier Gonzalez, who arrived to Tijuana in 2003 stressed, that back when he first settle here at the border with his location, the culinary movement was barely at its beginning along with the creation of the Regional Chefs Association.
“Back then there were only about 12 wines, now there are more than 60 including the beer that is added to this basket of flavors, and I think that the Tijuana kitchen is the future, that will be well placed in the books in the country”, highlighted Gonzalez.
With noticeable egos, but at the same time serene, the chefs defended with a frying pan in hand their proposals, and recognized that this was a team effort, and not as individuals, in which each and every one of them has a very noticeable chapter in the history of Tijuana’s cook book.
“Everyone has their own style, but with the mixture of the flavors of the products we are like a great orchestra, where everyone plays a different instrument, but at the moment when we get together, we become a great ensemble that brings us up to a great culinary level”, said Martin San Roman.
With the exception of San Roman, all of the others chefs were born in Tijuana and their contributions to the burners go far beyond that of what they learned in classes, but what they lived through and learned at home.
The panel that was moderated by Luis Ricardo Bonilla, who is also an expert in culinary arts, seasoned up the topic and asked important questions, which one of the most important ones was, what is going to be this borders local dish?
Some with a tone of doubt went with the old taco and hamburger, product of a bi-national life born between the peso and dollar, but now both the guests and chefs are walking towards a more authentic dish.
Everyone agreed that there should be a gastronomic heritage left behind now, that will defend this land of Baja California in the cook books of the country.
Tijuana is a mix of the eastern, the Mexican and the Mediterranean products which also has a climate similar to it on the table.
“To be universal, you have to be local” was the phrase that closed out the presentation, which was one of the busiest ones of the evening.
Translation : Omar.Martinez@sandiegored.com