Subscribe
Lifestyle

Chefs share the traditions of Mexican slow food with Toronto

Mollejas sweetbreads. Photography: Alexa Fernando

Antoinette Di Michele
10 Sep 2018

Nostalgic for childhood memories of hacienda life and inspired by trips across diverse Mexican regions, chefs Kate Chomyshyn and Julio Guajardo have opened Quetzal to share the many methods of Mexican slow food with Toronto.

The restaurant is a venture with chef-cum-restaurateur Grant van Gameren who helped usher in the era of nose-to-tail in Toronto 10 years ago with The Black Hoof. Since then, he’s opened nine restaurants and cocktail bars with passionate staff and sous chefs to continuously refine Toronto’s diverse dining and palate preferences.

Inside Quetzal, Toronto

Quetzal serves salsas with Chicatana ants, Maguay worm salt with ceviches, and masa with Mexican grown varieties of corn for hand-pressed tortillas. The masa is made and nixtamalised (soaked in alkaline to soften skins and release nutrients) in house, cooked on a clay comal over an open fire as it would be in regions of Mexico.

The labour-intensive slow food dishes are a part of the culture that is being lost, even in Mexico, according to the co-chefs, who feel an obligation to learn, share and carry on the diverse traditions. Cocktails by co-partner Owen Walker are inspired by the processes as well. Herbs like Hoja Santa used in masa and chocolate de mesa harmonise meals holistically. §

Grilled mushrooms

Rib steak on the plancha

‘Crystal visions’ cocktail

Butterflied fish on the grill

Seasonal vegetables with sikil pak verde