When I was 16 I started working in the kitchen at a hotel in Mexico. The hotel is called Quinta Real. It’s in Monterey, where I am from, which is about an hour away from Mexico City. After that I worked for two years in the kitchen of a restaurant called Pangea, one of the nicest restaurants in Mexico.
Mark Ellman of Maui Tacos came down to the restaurant and along with several other cooks from Pangea, including myself, made Pacific Rim cuisine for some special guests. It interested me so much. Until recently in Mexico it has been mainly French cuisine and other older styles of cooking but now Pacific Rim and food from Hawai’i has started to make an impression.
A year after this visit I contacted Alliance Abroad, which is an international organization that helps people get internships in different parts of the world for one year. I then called Ellman and asked if I could work for him in Hawai’i. I have now been at Mala for six months and I want to learn everything that I can.
I really enjoy working with the chefs Ellman and Sergio Perez. I am learning so much for them. In our spare time several of the cooks get together and with Sergio we work on creating new dishes for the restaurant. Being a line cook at Mala has taught me a lot about creativeness with food.
When I go back to Mexico in six months I will continue my schooling. I have already taken some classes but don’t have a degree yet. I really like Hawai’i and like learning about the culture and the activities like hula.
Even though I came here alone, I am getting to know the other chefs well and we have a very good partnership. We make some very good food and the style of cuisine is so different than what I was making back home in Mexico. MTW