I cook what I like the most and I ended up making Sinaloa-style seafood at the Mercado de San Juan, says Luis Valle, also known as Don Vergas, while we had breakfast at a barbecue next to the market. Luis just arrived from Colombia for the   Latin America’s 50 Best Restaraunts 2018 award from San Pellegrino. El Pujol was back on the list with third place. ” I’ve always admired Enrique, he changed the game of gastronomy in Mexico and the rest of us followed him,  says Don Vergas.

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The Sinaloa cooking business receives an average of 380 diners per day, from Friday to Sunday in an eight-seat position. Luis was invited to the awards to prepare a brunch together with Álvaro Clavijo , chef of El Chato in Bogotá, winner of the 25th place in the list this year.

– And what did you cook?

– Aguachile in the northwest style, as I do in Don Vergas: blue shrimp from Sinaloa, lemon juice, serrano pepper, salt, pepper, chiltepin and onion.  

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The reconquest of Sinaloa

The San Juan Gourmet Market  smells of Spain for its offer of ripe cheeses, serrano ham and red wine as divine trinity. This destination of specialties was born with a predominant proposal in tapas to satisfy the Spanish community sheltered in Mexico in the mid-twentieth century. Before it was a tobacco factory, today there are chili, mole and pozole: seasonal fruits, Virgin of Guadalupe, fish, scorpions, grasshoppers, mezcal, Japanese liquor and crocodile meat. Mexico cute and eclectic.

Approximately one Food Hall has 2000m2; a traditional market such as San Juan: 4500m2 and a Food Court: 1500 m2.

– Mero Mole

“I met Carol who had been left without a job because of the tremor. She owned a couple of local unopened in San Juan right in front of the tapas. What do we do? Something very Mexican: Seafood where I am from “. Don Vergas lived abroad for seven years: Houston, Chicago and New York; in the first two cities as right-hand man of Aquiles Chávez , later he worked with Juantxo Sánchez in the creative corporate of Sonora Grill inventing recipes.

Photo: Courtesy of Mero Mole

Welcome to the seafood omakase

Omakase = Japanese word that refers to the practice of putting oneself in the hands of the chef, serving whatever he decides.

When he arrived in the capital Chilanga, Luis did not understand the identity of the Mercado de San Juan:  Why is it a space with a historical location in the heart of the city that does not sell regional food? Responding to this problem opens Don Vergas on February 3, 2018 and from the first day it was filled. The foreigners arrive with him hungry for Mexican flavor and they ask him:  Where do I eat real tacos? If you want to get to Don Vergas, it’s easy:  just follow the music  of the Banda Limón Runner that sets the whole market.

Luis, who comes from the fishing family of Los Mochis, is the captain of the boat in experience.  There is no menu;  he commands and there is nothing left but to surrender to his whim and to what the generous north sea of ​​Mexico provides. He agrees with the fishermen every week with only one rule : if there is something new and fresh: whatever it is, send it. The supplies arrive in a cooler on the last Aeromexico flight on weekends at dawn. And how do you do it? I bathe in the middle of the night, I go for the seafood to the airport and to chambear “work”. There is always taco governor with charcoal ranch butter and aguachile. Sometimes, octopus. With luck, I call it. Many others: crab and fish hand shake.

Don Vergas set himself the goal of promoting ingredients and recipes from Sinaloa. “The most expensive shrimp and crab hands in the United States are from Sinaloa .  The most expensive octopus, that of Progreso. Mexico is equal to quality, why are we exporting all the best? “

The future of gastronomic culture in Mexico and the world:

Of 100 people who arrive at Don Vergas, 80 had not entered the market of San Juan , that is to say: traffic is being generated from new national visitors. The public, regardless of their idiosyncrasy or socioeconomic level is visiting the market to know it as a gastronomic and cultural meeting point . This also speaks of the center as a resignified space popularizing among the range of social classes in the country.

The secret is to do low investment business but of great quality in the flavor. That is my strategy. The average check is $ 450 but you receive quality fine dining supplies.

– What are new restaurant consumers looking for?

– Small places for the neighborhood where they are, nothing pretentious, like Cicatriz en la Juárez or Masala and Maíz in San Miguel Chapultepec. Delicious food and affordable prices. Goodbye to the restaurants with long tablecloths. That happens here but also in Los Angeles, New York, London, Melbourne and Berlin. People want to have a good time and eat rich . That is the idea of ​​Don Vergas.

Wipe, wipe: güerito, güerita, ladies, gentlemen, the Mercado de San Juan.

Seafood Don Vergas

Address: Interior of the San Juan Gourmet Market. Ernesto Pugibet # 21, hallway H, second door.

Hours: d e 12:00 18 hours

Facebook: Don Vergas Seafood

Source: animal gourmet

The Mazatlan Post