Top chefs see high-end Mexican cuisine as next major influence on global dining

Laura Price - 14/10/2014

Mexico will provide gastronomic inspiration to the world’s top restaurants, according to predictions by leading chefs, restaurateurs and food commentators gathered in New York City. Chefs including April Bloomfield, Massimo Bottura and Mario Batali discussed the future of American dining and international food trends at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ first ever #50BestTalks event on Saturday 11th October.

Traditional TexMex is making way for top-quality takes on tacos and ceviche as high-end restaurants around the world take inspiration from leading Mexican chefs such as Enrique Olvera.

“A lot of chefs are delving into Mexico right now,” said Bloomfield, chef and co-owner of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in New York. “Sean Brock is doing it in Charleston, I did it, as has Alex Stupak, and I’ve heard René [Redzepi] has taken a couple of trips to Mexico too.”

US cuisine in particular will become more outward-looking, with Mexico a key source of inspiration, according to Bloomfield. “It’s delicious, it’s soulful, it’s local. They don’t buy any of their produce from anywhere else, it comes from their plot of land and it’s super delicious, complex, diverse and spicy.”

Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor at US magazine Food & Wine, agreed that Mexican food will become increasingly important in 2015 as chefs around the world shift their focus away from Scandinavia. “The pendulum is swinging away from Nordic and far towards South America and Latin America,” said Krader. “There’s a big taco trend coming!”

Also speaking at #50BestTalks, Massimo Bottura, chef-owner at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, said he expects to see further international expansion of Peruvian cuisine.

“I totally agree about Mexico because it’s really deeply interesting, but what about Peru? Peru is the key to South American cuisine. One of my favourite dinners in the last few years was by Virgilio [Martinez] at Central in Lima,” said Bottura.

As well as discussing future food trends, the group of industry leaders talked optimistically about America’s gastronomic identity and the changing international perceptions of US cuisine. Panellists including Mitchell Davis, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy Chair for East USA and East Canada, said that although the traditional image of a hamburger and Coke remains part of America’s identity, things are changing, restaurants are innovating and – partly thanks to a better economic outlook – it’s an exciting time for the food and restaurant sector.

“The recession is fully behind us,” said Mario Batali, chef-owner at Babbo, Del Posto and Enoteca. “Now we’re really concentrating on the art as well as the commerce. There’s some really cool stuff going on and it’s a fascinating time to be in the business.”

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Photo: Sara Beth Turner