Mexican chef triumphs in Paris with haute cuisine restaurant

15/08/2018
|
15:08
|
Notimex
Mexican chef triumphs in Paris with haute cuisine restaurant
The restaurant, whose name comes from the initials of the two places of origin of the parents of Casarrubias, settled in this country in 2006 - Photo: Taken from Oxte Restaurant's official Instagram and Facebook profile pages

Mexican chef triumphs in Paris with haute cuisine restaurant

15/08/2018
15:08
Notimex
Mexico City
David del Río
-A +A
Enrique Casarrubias opened "Oxte," a haute cuisine restaurant that mixes Mexican and French culinary traditions

After 12 years of training and struggles, the young Mexican chef Enrique Casarrubias opened "Oxte," a haute cuisine restaurant that vindicates Mexican ingredients through a fusion of both France and Mexico’s culinary traditions.

The establishment, located a few meters from the Arc de Triomphe and Troyon Street has served as headquarters for other famous restaurants by great local chefs. “Oxte” has just begun its endeavor of conquering the highly demanding palates of the Parisian people.

The restaurant, whose name comes from the initials of the two places of origin of the parents of Casarrubias, settled in this country in 2006. It offers French dishes with a touch of Mexican spices in 14 tables ready to welcome 40 diners.

Casarrubias worked hard for years in multiple restaurants and positions, overcame four visa refusals and, after numerous criticisms from his Gallic teachers and all kinds of difficulties, he obtained support to inaugurate the only restaurant of its kind opened by a Mexican chef in the French capital.

"Before opening, I spent two years making all kinds of sacrifices. After going through many kitchens I asked myself: Why not make a restaurant that vindicates Mexican cuisine? And then I decided to open Oxte," Casarrubias told Notimex, who had the support of his Mexican wife, chef and pastry chef Montserrat Estrada.

In 2016, Casarrubias won the prestigious "young talent" award from the French guide "Gault et Millau.”

The restaurant finally opened last February and, since then, Casarrubias has been inviting its clients to discover elements and flavors of Mexican gastronomy among French dishes and to banish the simplistic image of the cuisine of their country extended by the so-called "tex-mex” tradition.

"I would like to take away all prejudice from Mexican food, our cuisine is not only about tacos, chili con carne, tex-mex food ... I'm fed up with that," the 31-year-old chef said of his restaurant decorated with Mexican touches and with crockery made by Mexican artisans.

"I wanted to create a restaurant where people would see that we can eat a good meal using chilies, corn, Mexican spices, and that people say ok, in Mexico there is not only that," he added.

The restaurant, advertised in tourist guides and social networks, offers two menus, one with six dishes, for a price of around 70 dollars.

Although Casarrubias does not intend to create a "fusion" cuisine, the dishes mix classic French ingredients such as foie-gras with the Mexican "esquites" or strawberries with epazote, in the desserts.

"I do not like the term fusion. I define my kitchen as a French kitchen where I value what I learned here in France without forgetting where I come from. The dishes that I have created are memories," said the chef who promotes mezcal in his restaurant and plans to include Mexican wines in his menu.

"Enrique Casarrubias is a new hope for gastronomy," the local newspaper Le Parisien commented in a review which anticipated the opening of "Oxte," a "bistronomic" restaurant in which the Mexican chef would make an "original and inventive cuisine to unite French and Mexican flavors".

Casarrubias arrived in Paris at the age of 19 and worked as a kitchen assistant at the famous luxury hotels George V, Crillon, and Intercontinental, which have restaurants with several Michelin stars. He also worked as a sous-chef for the famous Franco-Algerian chef Akrame Benallal.

"He (Akrame) told me that there were no limits and that he began to work with Mexican products such as corn," said Casarrubias, whooffered a "four-handed" dinner in company of Akrame last June, for the participants at the “Qué gusto” gastronomy festival.

Six months after the opening of "Oxte", the restaurant seems consolidated in terms of audience, especially with the French.

Currently, Casarrubias has not set further challenges for himself, although like any chef, it would not displease him to obtain a star from the prestigious Michelin Guide.

"The Michelin star can come one day from the sky, but we work for a project. Now everyone can open a restaurant, but the most difficult thing is to continue," said the chef, whose future dream would be to open a restaurant in Mexico.

dm

Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal