Chillies, smoked or sun-dried

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MANNA `N' MUSIC Chefs Roberto and Sergio whip up Mexican fare for Hyderabadis Photo: P.V.Sivakumar
MANNA `N' MUSIC Chefs Roberto and Sergio whip up Mexican fare for Hyderabadis Photo: P.V.Sivakumar

In Hyderabad for the ninth time, Mexican chefs Roberto and Sergio turn mini ambassadors, finds SANGEETHA DEVI. K

If you love Mexican food and you've been in Hyderabad for the last few years, the names Roberto Treves and Sergio Snyder would be familiar. The master chefs have been visiting Hyderabad since 1993, treating food lovers to lavish spreads of Mexican cuisine. The duo is back in town for the Mexican food festival at Taj Krishna.

Melting pot

"It's a beautiful life," says chef Sergio, reminiscing his experiences of whipping up delicacies for the last 38 years. "It's beautiful because we've travelled across countries and continents and have become mini ambassadors," he adds with a chuckle. They've mixed business with travel and the heady cocktail has made them appreciate varied Indian cuisines. "Ladakh and Rajasthan are poles apart. So are Cochin and Kanyakumari from Goa and Udaipur," shrugs Roberto. The chefs proudly tell us that they've visited Pune, Chennai, Vishakapatnam, Kolkata and Jaipur as well. "The cuisine, the culture, the language... everything varies from city to city. A lot of Indians don't realise what a treasure trove their land is.""The first Mexican food festival we conducted in Asia was in Hyderabad in 1993. Since then, we began to understand the city well," says Roberto, explaining his choices of dishes for Hyderabad. "Hyderabadis love vegetarian food as much as non-vegetarian; so we don't ignore the vegetarian palate. The city has a perceivable Muslim culture; hence we avoid serving pork and beef. The idea is to make everyone eat comfortably."No, they don't Indianise or `Chin'ise Mexican cuisine. Authentic Mexican food is their forte, not the fusion Tex Mex. "Indians love spices and hence take a liking to Mexican food. A common misnomer is that Mexican food is made with a generous helping of chillies. The fact is, 70 per cent of Mexican dishes don't require chillies. Instead, there are different chilli sauces served on the table. And 90 per cent of Mexican chillies are sun-dried or smoked using cedar wood or chicory wood. Some chillies are tangy and even sweetish. If India is a rice and dal bowl, Mexican food centres on corn and beans," says Sergio.

Slice of Mexico

Sergio and Roberto believe in bringing smiles to people's lips as they tuck in good food. So, while you dig into enchiladas or tortillas, you can catch them don their large velvet hats and sing a few lines for you. "We love to entertain," they declare.They've hosted Mexican food festivals in 82 countries so far and admit that India and South Africa are their favourite nations next to their hometown. "Most Indian chefs fluently converse in English. We keep telling them that they should travel across the globe. In Mexico, only a handful of chefs speak in English. So the majority doesn't step out of the country," says Sergio. The food festival is on till February 11, for dinner, at Encounters. After this, the chefs will head to "Malaysia, followed by Japan and China. We have a long way to go before we get to chill out in Mexico."




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