Mail and Guardian

Chef Luke Dale-Roberts and Chef Jorge Vallejo. Photo taken by Hein van Tonder

The Test Kitchen and Quintonil, both highly ranked on the World’s 50 Best restaurant list, recently hosted a collaboration dinner series. Ishay Govender-Ypma chatted to the chefs. Mexico Meets SA in Cape Town for Mail and Guardian. (@IshayGovender) 

“Are those the escamoles?” I ask the waitress, in a whisper. They are crisp, similar to Rice Krispies and unlike the soft, pliant ant larvae I’ve eaten before. “Yes,” she whispers back, “Chef told us not to make a big deal of it, you know, in case someone freaks out.” “But the ant larvae are the point,” I wink at her.  I’ve eaten a version of this dish at Quintonil, in Mexico City, but saying it out loud makes me sound like a shameless braggart. Locals who book a meal for the collaboration dinner held in Cape Town at the stylish 6-floor The Pot Luck Club, are surely seeking the Mexican specialities, I think. The hosts preparing the dinner are African and Mexican heavyweights, Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen (no. 22 on the World’s 50 Best list, 2016), and Jorge Vallejo’s Quintonil (no. 12 on the list and no. 6 on Latin America’s 50 Best, 2015). Quintonil’s grasshopper is ground up and indistinguishable in a chimichurri sauce served on local aged beef. I notch it up to transportation issues.

How do you whisk these ingredients through customs, I wonder. Luke Dale-Roberts who has been in talks for months with the Mexican embassy, which initially willed this collaboration, speculates about a diplomatic pouch. But he’s wrong this time; the ingredients arrive in the chef’s suitcase. Quintonil’s wily Vallejo, just 34, but with a host of similar global dinners under his belt, tells me the day after the first dinner (there are three: 15, 16 and 17 September 2016) that he’s…Read full article

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