Wednesday, June 12, 2013


For those of you who don’t know her, Chef Cynthia Martinez is a very renowned Mexican chef with a passion for traditional Michoacan cooking. Her cooking school, Zirita, was one of just five that was written up by Saveur Magazine last year.

I was so happy to participate in a class she taught in San Miguel as part of the San Miguel Festival Gourmet. I’m hoping that the Festival will put on a lot more events like this one.

Chef Martinez believes that great traditional Mexican cooking needs to be preserved so it is a rescue at her school in Morelia to teach the techniques and recipes that have been the foundation of Michoacan cooking for years. 

Chef Martinez and I spoke before the class and she promised that she would speak slowly so I was able to understand. Amazingly, I understood about 85%. 

I was also the only American there besides Doug, the owner of Cafe Contento, a really fantastic restaurant in San Miguel that is also doing traditional Mexican cooking. Chef Bossuet is the top rated chef in San Miguel so look for more posts on his cooking.

These are the experiences that I am in Mexico for…so real that I am learning, eating and maybe even dreaming about food in Spanish again. It’s been a long time since I have used my Spanish so being thrown into this situation was really good.

The class was on making Corundas which is masa wrapped in a corn leaf and then steamed and served with a delicious Mexican sauce. Of course, like any great Mexican dish, the sauce is what always gives it the wonderful, often spicy and complimenting flavors.

Corunda is an art. Each Corunda can have three, five or seven points. It’s rare to see one with seven points and it takes a person with master wrapping skills to do it.

Here is mine. Looks perfect doesn’t it? Sorry to say that it took plenty of practice, a few ruined corn leaves and a whole lot of help from the experts to make it look this good.

I hope to visit Zirita while I am here in Mexico so look for more posts on the amazing food of Michoacan.

Chef Martinez will move you to cook from the soul.

It’s a Mexican thing that I am so getting use to! 

Buen Apetito!