Many of our travelers are starting to plan their winter trips – and no destination is as enticing in winter as Mexico! Whether you are heading to the coast or the interior, you’ll find gorgeous natural beauty and amazing food. And what better way to kick off our Mexico week than with an interview with the wonderful Chef Ale of our cooking vacation on the Riviera Maya!
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Alejandra, and I’m originally from Mexico City.
What is your first memory of cooking?
Well, my first memory of cooking is when both grandmas were fighting for me for the weekends to see with whom I was gonna stayed, and I thought it was because they were in love with me, but actually they just needed a hand in the kitchen, (laugh). No, I’m just joking, .. I spend most of my weekends with one grandma cooking and smelling and chopping and doing a lot of things in the kitchen.
Where or from whom did you learn about cooking?
From both of my grandmas, a little bit from my mom, but mostly from my grandmas, they’re both exceptional cooks.
What is your favorite ingredient or food to cook with? Least favorite?
That’s a hard question, I really love a lot of ingredients, I would say I like the most, herbs in general because they add a lot of flavour to food.
What’s your favorite dish?
That’s very hard, I have many favorite dishes of Mexican as well as Italian and other types of food; could be “pozole,” it is amazing.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone just starting to cook?
Well I would tell them to relax, they are no rules, many people try to let us think there are rules, I think they just have to get relaxed and have fun and express yourself through food.
Have any funny or embarrassing stories you’d like to share?
I have many, but when I just started at the culinary school they made me clean a lot of habanero peppers with no protection, and for 3 or 4 days I could no move my hands they were super irritated.
Why do you like teaching cooking classes?
I love teaching because I can share the richness of our food, I think is the most important thing in Mexico. And I can share the table with other cultures that I can learn from.
What’s unique about the food from your region?
Everything, I eaten a lot of different food and I love all but Mexican food its by far the tastiest and most varied food I ever seen, you can have spice or not, or sweetness or saltines and you have amazing things, like mole that have more than 15 different ingredients, very ancient techniques which blended amazingly well with Spanish heritage but we kept our identity and I think that’s one of the best things about our Mexican food.
Anything else you’d like to share with The International Kitchen’s clients?
Well, what I love about Mexican food, it’s that it’s a whole experience that you can smell amazing things. super flavourful food, tasty and you can share the table with a lot of people. I think everything about a culture is expressed in the table by eating their food, and I think that is an amazing thing. I hope you can come to my home and to my kitchen!
Want to cook with Chef Ale? Check out our fabulous Cooking on the Riviera Maya vacation!
By Peg Kern
Learn more about all of our culinary vacations.
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best tours.