As a chef, mentorships are a crucial component of ensuring that the field avoids becoming stagnant, as well as guaranteeing that the traditions of great cooking are passed down through the generations. Fortunately, with stewards such as Enrique Olvera, we can be assured that the art of cooking isn’t going anywhere. Enrique has served as mentor to another member of this list, Daniela Soto-Innes, and she has grown to be a star chef in her own right. But don’t overlook Enrique’s accomplishments- he’s a legendary chef in his own right.
Enrique’s first solo effort was Pujol in Mexico City, opened in 2000. Pujol served as Enrique’s statement to the culinary world: “Don’t overlook Mexican cuisine,” and they listened. Enrique’s passion for keeping Mexican culture alive through its cuisine shone through in his dishes, so it’s no surprise that Pujol ranked #20 on the 2014 list of “The World’s Best Restaurants” and #6 on “Latin America’s Best Restaurants.”
Following on the success of Pujol, Enrique opened Cosme in New York City in 2014, and it remains one of the standout restaurants for Mexican fare in the country. And with Enrique’s commitment to mentoring other chefs, it’s a sure bet that his culinary genius won’t be fading away.
Specialties & Resources
At Cosme, the focus is on contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine, but naturally, there is a bit of culinary overlap. Enrique and the team at Cosme also use local and seasonal ingredients from New York’s Hudson Valley to round out their dishes and provide a unique flavor, while still maintaining the traditional roots of Mexican cuisine. Some of the offerings include sliced raw fish with poblano, finger lime, avocado and black lime, cobia al pastor with pineapple puree and cilantro, huarache with razor clams, lime kosho and marcona almonds, buffalo mozzarella with epazote, garlic mojo and greens, and duck carnitas with onions, radishes and cilantro.
At Pujol, Enrique uses the local resources available to him to create dishes such as lobster tostada with recado blanco and chipotle mayonnaise, suckling pig tago with smoked tortilla, chickpea puree, coriander and red jalapeno, amarillito tamal with fava beans and swiss chard, and rabbit with red pepian, chorizo, carrot and lettuce.
Enrique considers it his duty to preserve Mexican culture through his dishes, and his decades-long exploration of the many ways in which the culture can be represented is evident in the meals he makes.