Feb 28, 2008

Dining - Chef's Corner (Los Cabos Magazine 2007)

Los Cabos Magazine articles about Cabo San Lucas and the Los Cabos area of Baja California, Mexico.

Dining and Nightlife Articles

Dining - Chef's Corner

Margarita Carrillo de Salinas

Chance and coincidence can shape our lives in ways we never expect, playing a pivotal role—more than once—in the career of Chef Margarita Carrillo de Salinas. While balancing a young family and a teaching career, she and her husband, Angel Salinas Flores, decided to build a new home. As it is with construction projects, supervision is key, so Margarita took a leave of absence to oversee the project. Finding herself a bit bored and a natural in the kitchen, she took a few cooking classes here and there, which lead to a friendship and many travels with Alicia Gironella D'Angeli, the acclaimed Mexican chef of México City’s El Tajín restaurant. Soon Margarita was back in university studying culinary arts and would go on to attend Led Cordon Blew and other top institutions around the globe.

I caught up with her after a recent trip to Vienna this past autumn. The assignment: a formal dinner for 400 at the United Nations International Center. How, I asked, could she pull this off with a handful of embassy staff, some not accustomed to laying out a feast for 40 let alone 400? She smiled and explained that growing up, life revolved around the kitchen and the family, and that it was customary for them to be cooking for large groups of the extended Carrillo Arronte clan and their many friends. “If you love what you do, it’s easy,” she replied.

In her long and stellar culinary career, Chef Margarita traveled the world as Executive Chef of México’s Department of Agriculture. A chance meeting in Japan led her to open Don Emiliano’s in San José del Cabo in 2005. Juggling positions as the Mexican representative of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Instructional Chef of Cultura Culinaria and the Centro Culinario de México, as well as her work with La Cofradía en Apoyo de la Mayora Mexicana—assisting talented Mexican women cooks with developing their skills—and her commitment to the international Slow Food movement, she resigned from the Department of Agriculture in 2005 to focus on Don Emiliano and her family. Chef Margarita now divides most of her time between Los Cabos and her husband and youngest son in México City. Angel, her eldest, runs Don Emiliano with her, while a third son is in the film business in L.A.

As she was about to leave for a month abroad (Slow Food’s Terra Madre, where she will represent México, and another prestigious event in Japan), I asked her how her husband feels about her globetrotting lifestyle. She flashed me that warm smile of hers and said, “For 33 years, he has always been there for me. It means everything. I am very happy that my profession, my passion, has involved my family.” 


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