Mexican Chef Eduardo may love Indian food but he cannot bear to palm off fusion Tex Mex for authentic Mexican cuisine

Mexican Master Chef Eduardo who is in town to whip up a special Mexican menu and give a food demo is surprised at how popular Tex-mex cuisine is with us.

While giving colour and taste to the Mexican Food Festival across India in association with Corralejo Tequila, chef Eduardo Pérez from Merida, Yucatan in Mexico, says he is having a good time in India.

The many choices of naan and dal makhani delight Eduardo who is surprised at the variety of breakfast dishes India has. “Dosa, ‘to deep fried donut sort’ (he means vada) to the ‘steam flat rice cakes’ (idli) there is so much to choose from. Each place I have been to, have served me naan, dal makhani, dosa, idli in different tastes. As a chef it is understandable that no two persons can cook alike but I like the dosa when it is slightly sour and the naans when they are soft and fluffy enough to be cut effortlessly,” elaborates Eduardo.

Chef Eduardo had graduated from the Letty Gordon Institute at Mexico City and the International School of Chefs at Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, where he teaches today. He has been in India for a while, doing the rounds of Mexican restaurants attached to five-star properties and is astonished at the fact that some ingredients required to prepare authentic Mexican are hard to get. “If they are available, they are way too expensive and I cannot play around much with them because customs don’t allow. So, I have had to compromise on the ingredients in a few ways or not prepare the dish at all.”

Meanwhile, the nachos was flying off the table with the salsa. This has Eduardo exclaiming, “I will give you the real Mexican salsa and you can tell the difference.” So the chopped tomatoes- onions mix (we think is salsa) which would have been polished off with the nachos was avoided. Then came Eduardo’s bowl of salsa — a rough paste of semi-burnt tomato, garlic and onions — simply heavenly!

So do young Mexican girls flirt with him in class? “Yes, all the time. But I put a strict face and tell them I am married,” he laughs. He insists he isn’t the only one who uses the ‘married’ tag for protection. “I saw a few Mexican ladies here and asked them to Salsa with me. They said they are married,” he giggles.

The conversation veers back to Mexican cuisine and Eduardo rubbishes myths about Mexican food being fatty: “That is Tex-Mex. Authentic Mexican food is very healthy and tasty.” For proof, he offers Enchiladas Verdes, Beef Fajita, Pescado Empapelado (marinated fish cooked in its own sauces). And surprisingly none of them are fried or topped with sour cream. Healthy indeed!

So we walk away wiser about Mexican cuisine.

Cooking class

Chef Eduardo will conduct a special Saturday cooking class at La Cantina, Hyderabad Novotel Hotel and Convention Centre where he will share not only his culinary experience of innovation and experimentation but also tips and tricks for a few favourite dishes.

Eduardo is also a good dancer, so if you feel like doing the salsa, come prepared to dance for fun.