Culinary trips to Mexico with the creations of Diego Guerrero
The legendary Chef from DSTAgE, Diego Guerrero, decided to open his presentation by giving the voice to Carmen, a promoter and sustainable producer from Traspatio Maya. She spoke about the organization she belongs to and how important it is to give the producers access to marketing and a good organization of work as this will allow them to be known and seen – ergo have a fair payment. Carmen mentioned the importance of a sustainable way of farming as well as the legacy of Maya which her work pays homage to.
The Mexican inspirations
It’s been a while since Diego Guerrero was in Mexico last time, but we can say that the country’s impact on him was huge. No wonder that several DSTAgE dishes are inspired by Mexican history, culture, and products. Colb of corn, mole, and chelaga were a part of the restaurant’s first menu in 2014. In 2017, there was a tasting menu heavily inspired by Mexican Dia De Los Muertos. Some of those techniques and products were a culinary curiosity in Madrid. The same year a dish Cochinita Pibil appeared on the DSTAgE plates, being a play with convention, a non-literal interpretation of a popular dish. A little more attention was brought to the dish from 2016, called Aguacate, Mole, Yuca Fermentada – the audience saw a film with the preparation process. In 2020, the Chef designed a tribute to the flag product of Mexico, the corn, with his dish Maíz/Kefir.
The pig from collagen, the Mayan calendar, and the banana in black
The first Mexican-inspired dish from the restaurant’s repertoire presented by Diego Guerrero in front of the audience was Cochinita Pibil. The base of this traditional dish is a piglet, marinated in achiote and roasted for a couple of hours in a hole in the ground. Diego’s interpretation consisted of natural collagen, liquified, baked, and cut in a piggy shape. He served it with potato slices, cilantro, pineapple, roasted onion, and sauce.
An anecdote preceded the preparation of the second dish: the team from DSTAgE had a tradition of bringing magnets from their travels as souvenirs. The one from Mexico had the shape of a Mayan calendar and later it became an inspiration for a dish. The mole was made from purple corn, formed in a desired shape, frozen, and decorated with fruits, fried seeds, pickled chili, and chili powder.
Platano/Mole was a dish from 2020 whose base was a banana covered in black sauce. The fruit was subjected to Koean pressure cooking in the maturation function which resulted in a deep brown color. Then the banana was covered in chilmole – that gave the dish a truly intensive, salty flavor.
The Mold and the Fermentation
The speaker reflected on cooking in a big city. There is no unified style or roots there, so the opportunities to explore different products, techniques, and traditions are huge. That gives the chef a lot of freedom, the feeling of not being defined. This is how Diego’s fascination with fermentation was born, especially – different types of fermentation used all around the world. It corresponds well with his other obsession – leaving no leftovers. From those two passions was born the fourth of the presented dish – Taco (2021) from blue corn.
As usual with the Madrid Chef, nothing is what it seems. The corn cream was infected with the fungus of Rochefort, penicillium roqueforti. The result: a round and surprisingly velvety taco. Now all that was left was to add fresh and local products and finish it with floral petals decoration.
The last dish, pochas, was prepared using the fermentation which allowed to unify the legume. The inspiration was the coast of Sapin, the terrestrial products. The dish was finished with Bermeo black pudding – cream blood sausage.
Diego Guerrero’s greatest source of inspiration are different techniques of the world, how food behaves, what can we do with it, and how we can modify it. No wonder that he draws so much from Mexican cuisine – after all, it is one of the richest in the world.