Representative of a new generation of Colombian chefs which are deepening in the roots of their lands, creator of a gastronomic research project that explores going on different gustatory nuances of the Colombian Caribbean and holder of a touch of tropical elegance, the the chef Jaime Rodríguez was one of those responsible for bringing color and flavor to the Gastronomic Festival 5 of 50 of Food and Travel, presented by Hugo Boss, S. Pellegrino and Toyota. Through his dishes took us to Cartagena de Indias, where is his restaurant Celele, which occupies the step number 49 in the list of The 50 best restaurants in Latin America. Text: Cynthia Benítez / Photos: Charly Ramos.
Celele’s natural banquet
On the edge of a paradise cove, in a natural cave that rises as one of the most privileged corners of the Hotel Xcaret Mexico, the menu of eight times which represents the biodiversity of the Colombian Caribbean, by means of endemic fruits, vegetables and flowers. The food was accompanied by wines from Casa Madero, carefully married by the sommelier Sandra Fernández.
The headquarters of the presentation of the the chef Jaime Rodríguez was the BIO restaurant, within the facilities Hotel Xcaret Mexico and who is in charge of the Chef Miguel Bautista which creates a vegan / vegetarian cuisine. The space was ideal as it complemented the sensory experience, thanks to the tropical atmosphere which gives its eco-integrative architecture.
To the rescue of Colombian biodiversity
He the chef Jaime Rodríguez he told us that since he has use of reason he knew he wanted to dedicate himself to cooking. He told us that he went with his mother to the market square and helped her with her gastronomic events. When I was studying high school, in the town of Boyacá, in Colombia, he intended to be a cook. His mother supported him and went to study in the municipality of Tunja, northeast of Bogotá. Since then, takes 15 years between ingredients and recipes.
The key moments in which the evolution in their way of cooking That’s when he worked with them Colombian chefs Luis Ernesto Forero Rodríguez and Jorge Rausch. But the watershed of his career was five years, with the Invention and participation in Caribbean Lab Project, which is dedicated to researching the traditional Colombian cuisine and rescuing the country’s biodiversity, focusing on the Colombian Caribbean.
“I am inspired by the whole indigenous culture and in all the crossbreeding of the Colombian Caribbean, because we have ancestry from Arab, African, European and indigenous culture. In the aesthetics of my dishes I highlight the colorful part and I make it from fruits and flowers “, said chef Jaime Rodríguez.
Caribbeanize from Colombia to Mexico
to read BIO circular tables they will be decorated with flowers, one per hour before autumn, he begins with the caribbean party, on vaja main ingredients were betrayed from Colombia. He tasting menu and some of the new dishes from Celele, restaurant member of the list of best restaurants in latin america they were served to the delight of the attendees of the Festival 5 of 50.
We start with one Celele’s classic: casabe cordobés (bread of indigenous cassava flour) in the form of toast. Wow spread with creamy sesame butter, brought from Colombian municipality of Sincelejo, which gave a unique flavor to the dish. We continue with one snapper cured in bougainvillea salt and with milk-fermented mandarin lemon mayonnaise; his presentation was poetic, since it looked like a bougainvillea flower. White wine was chosen as a pairing Casa Madero Chenin blanc Organic Grapes 2019, with aroma of wet wool and citrus flavor.
Salty fruits and sweet flowers
The dishes of chef Jaime Rodríguez show that fruits are the ideal ingredient for all types of meals. “I think there is a lot to show in Colombia. As a country we are a lot famous in the subject of fruits and it’s a topic to keep exploring, Not only in the sweet, there are other ways to finderar the Use of fruits and flowers in savory dishes”.
He ax callus with cold coconut sauce he checked it. With a touch of lime and fermented cranberry handle (type of cane distillate) if managed to balance the taste of herbal oil, sea lettuce and salicornias, getting one fresh combination, with a very elegant touch of acidity. Accompanying was chosen for white wine Casa Madero 100% Chenin Blanc Organic Grapes 2019.
One of the times that surprised palates was that of earmuff seed textures, which come from the tree Enterolobium cyclocarpum which is found in the tropical dry forest. He the chef Jaime Rodríguez we are told that this recipe premiered at the event. His main goal was that, through this 100% vegan dish, the biodiversity of this forest, because the ecosystem is in danger. The dish consisted of different presentations of the seed, as in paste and puree. The pairing that accompanied it was negg member of Casa Madero: the Orange Wine 2018, 100% colombard grape variety, with marked citrus flavors.
“It is an honor to have this talent so young. Today we tried something really different, very daring, but very apt”He said Franco Maddalozzo, Director of Gastronomy at Hoteles Xcaret, to congratulate chef Jaime Rodríguez and the service team Hotel Xcaret Mexico.
To conclude the meal, we savored one combination of chocolate and red pepper sorbet, at the bottom of the dessert came a Tropical dry forest seed crumble. Decoration is used chili paper, tamarind gel and chili powder. The softness of the ice cream and the seeds were the key to the sweetness. Another point in his favor was the dessert wine Late Harvest 2020, made with grape seed and gewürztraminer.
Start tasting Celele flavors in the paradise embracing Xcaret Hotels was a experience that seduced us with the most unexpected flavors of Colombia. There is still much more to tell about this first edition of the Gastronomic Festival 5 of 50, Don’t miss the following chronicles!