Can food lovers save Mexico City’s nutrient-rich islands and the farmers who toil here?
Yolcan, in partnership with Casa Dragones, supports the Mexican tradition of chinampa farming.
Below you will find an excerpt from the original article at Forbes, to read the full article click here.
When he arrived at the small island in the midst of one of the world’s biggest cities, chef Gabriel Rodriguez knew that the only piece of equipment at his disposal would be a simple brick grill. He would have to use it to fire tortillas until crisp enough to carry the weight of beans, salsa, herbs and cheese, to heat a broth of mushrooms, chicken and algae, and to char cornhusks stuffed with celeriac, squash and cactus.
But Rodriguez was delighted to sweat out every detail of his five-course tasting menu in a makeshift kitchen without so much as a refrigerator for the chance to support Yolcan, the collective whose mission is to revive ancient farming techniques and sustain those who grow food on the tiny nutrient-rich islands in the southern Mexico City community of Xochimilco.
Since March, in the maze of the verdant canals of Xochimilco, chefs like Rodriguez climb aboard wooden boats and drift past the blankets of water lilies to dock at a lush vegetable garden exploding with kohlrabi, red leaf lettuce andfennel. Here they will cook for as many as 50 guests at a time at a monthly food event known as Semillas del Chef, where the vegetables and fruit grown by the Yolcan farmers are featured in every dish.
“We’re plating this very delicate dessert and they’re holding sheet trays above the plates so we can finish. At that point everyone’s happy, it’s raining, it’s very dramatic, dessert’s coming out, we’re pouring mezcal and tequila for everyone, wine for everyone. I’m running to the bar and grabbing shot glasses and Casa Dragones to bring back to the kitchen, pouring drinks for the staff to get a tequila blanket going,” Keval recalled. “It was exhausting, it was fun, it was wonderful.” —Featured in Los Angeles Times by Laura Tillman, December 4th, 2018