Sunday, August 14, 2016

Chefs Greta Ortega Casanas and Ana Cecilia Alvarez of MiVida

I would say it’s the ingredients; the fresh ingredients they pick then from the garden in the back of the restaurant or the quality ingredients that Chef Greta Ortega Casañas selectively hand-picks from sources all over Mexico, many of them imported from Italy, but what really makes MiVida Restaurant special is the chefs: Greta Ortega Casañas,

Ana Cecilia Alvarez and

Davide Giribaldi. All three work together as a team and care about giving their customers the best dining experience possible. Blend that with great food and service - the staff is terrific - and you’ve got a winning recipe.

Greta Ortega Casañas
Executive Chef

Chef Greta Ortega Casanas was a championship swimmer and spent most of her adolescent life in the pool. She participated in State and Nationals and was selected for the Central and Pan American Games and the Central American University Championships. She was the regional champion in 1998 and also participated in the National Triathlon in 2000.

She studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Mexico City, where she received a diploma in cuisine and pastry. She participated in the Atelier Boulangerie workshops, received a Master’s degree in Nutrition from the Latin Ameican University, Santa Fe campus and did her undergraduate at Metropolitan Autonomous University, Xochimilco. 

She loves bread; she worked at The House of Bread in Cuernavaca where she came in every morning at 6:00 AM just to help the bakers. She did her internships at Bistrot The Bourgongne in Mexico City, The Glass Bar and at the Hotel Hyde Away in Playa del Carmen.

She opened MiVida in 2006 and was the first chef to plant a garden and grow vegetables and herbs for the restaurant. This September she will travel to Albany Novella, Italy and study under Chef Alessandro Neri, a chef she met while working in Playa del Carmen.

We salute Chef Ortega for being one of the first female chefs to take the helm of a major, fine dining restaurant in SMA.

Ana Cecilia Alvarez

When sous-chef Ana Cecilia Alvarez graduated from La Universidad Tecnologíca in San Miguel de Allende, she did her internship at Restaurant Il Grecale in Novello, Italy. She also took baking classes from Chef Christophe Rhedon in Mexico City, courses in contemporary Mexican cuisine and Mexipan’s artisan ice cream making by Italian master Angelo Corvitto. She was Chef-in-Charge at Casa de Path in Los Senderos and later took her current position as sous-chef and bakery-in-charge at Mi Vida Restaurant. 

She says she’s always believed that motivation is the key to success, so every day she wakes up with the best attitude, certain she is doing what she likes the most. She admits that occupationally, she’s not very flexible; “I like things to go perfect” she says. Perfect it is when it comes to her specialty; fish (she smokes the Robalo herself), cream of beet, fried chard, chicharron and avocado. I ordered it last week and there’s only two words to describe it: world-class.

We’ve had a number of lunches and dinners over the past two months and every dish hit the high mark on the combination of flavor and taste.

At my most recent lunch on Friday, I got their tasting menu and now that I’ve had one, it will be my menu of choice, unless of course it’s Sunday night, when MiVida rolls out their special pizza. It’s a habit with me; I’ve been in there every Sunday since Marene Flores Silva, the Pastry Chef at Jacinto 1930, told me about it. Don’t ask me to pick a favorite; I love them all.
The tasting menu:

Mixed citrus Martini made with Vodka

Pargo café from Oaxaca (red snapper) with a saffron (they pulled the prime saffron out for this one) broth made with fish and shrimp stock, organic carrots and onions, and clams.

Tortellini pasta stuffed with beef stew, pancetta (my favorite, Italian bacon) , Oporto sauce, green beans, corn and purple radish micro-greens, tatemado olive oil, and parmesan.

Apricot semi-fritto with chocolate mousse stuffed cannoli (honestly this is one of the best cannoli I’ve ever tasted – made with puff pastry and lightly sugared)

We’ve also had a number of ceviches and desserts (Cecy does the magic when it comes to the appetizers and pastries) with our pizzas and pastas that have been really outstanding.  
MiVida also has a beautiful, old-world, private dining room that will seat up to 8 people.
For reservations call:

MiVida Restaurant
Calle Hernandez Macias 97, Centro, 37700
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Phone: 415 152 7482

Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 1-10 PM
Sunday 3 -10:30 PM
Tuesday Closed

Reference: The Female Chefs of San Miguel de Allende