Updated: Jan 18
THE CHEF'S LOVE IN EVERY BITE
The Mexico City markets are a sight to behold—full of fresh flowers, produce, and handmade crafts. Tucked away in one of these markets is a small restaurant called Marisco’s El Paisa. Before you see it among the sea of vendors, you will smell the enticing aromas of seafood sizzling on the grill.
Walking in, you’re greeted by a robust kitchen, busy and full of life. Bar stools wrap a long counter, giving guests a full view of the excitement of the cooking. Clamoring pots ring in your ears and your eyes are dazzled by spontaneous flashes of fire. A chef carefully plates your food and hands it directly to you over the counter.
"My attention was diverted as a young chef directly in front of me began plating salad on hand-carved wooden boards. The boards were beautiful, reminding me of a tree and bringing me a feeling of gratitude for the earth."
An experience to remember, our group recently visited Marisco’s and was served by the head chef, Daniel Silva. He greeted our group with a gigantic smile and asked if he could create a chef’s special. Looking around the kitchen, he offered two options—seared tuna or oysters. Chef Silva moved fluidly around the kitchen as he prepared our meal. My eyes followed him, drinking in every movement.
But my attention was diverted as a young chef directly in front of me began plating salad on hand-carved wooden boards. The boards were beautiful, reminding me of a tree and bringing me a feeling of gratitude for the earth. Watching the food being prepped in front of me was exciting. My eyes wanted to connect with the salad more deeply. I could see the happiness of food radiating in the smiles of the chefs waltzing effortlessly around the chaos of the large kitchen.
The oysters and tuna sizzled away as Chef Silva came back to the counter to chat. The open kitchen design provides an easy interaction between chefs and guests. In my broken Spanish, I shared how much I enjoyed watching him work. His love and care for what he was cooking were apparent in the attention he paid to each step of preparation and cooking. We also talked about The Intention Table.
Through our conversation, I learned about Chef Silva’s journey to running Marisco’s. He had worked in high-end restaurants across the world, from the US to Europe, but returned to manage his family’s seafood restaurant in his local market in Mexico City. Under Chef Silva’s guidance and vision, the menu (similar at the time to other local restaurants with shrimp cocktail or friend fish) was completely revamped. His time abroad inspired a new array of fresh ingredients, intense flavors and textures, all served with careful presentation in an interactive, customer-centered environment.
"I shared how much I enjoyed watching him work. His love and care for what he was cooking were apparent in the attention he paid to each step of preparation and cooking."
My fine-dining experience at Marisco’s continued as my eyes feasted on the oysters and tuna being plated on those beautiful wooden boards. After being served, I took the time to truly enjoy what was in front of me. The circular tostada served as a vehicle for a pile of tuna topped with salsa, all bordered by a delicious salad. The salsa had just the right amount of spice. The tostada had just the right amount of crunch. The tuna had a perfectly executed sear. Without a doubt, the food was delicious. However the experience of watching it made, speaking with the chefs, and enjoying a full sensory array of cooking excitement made the food even tastier. I know that the love and care behind his cooking are what make Chef Silva’s food delicious in every way.