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Nicholas Gilman is a renowned journalist and food writer based in Mexico City.

Nicholas Gilman es un renombrado periodista gastronómico radicado en la Ciudad de México.

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A Postcard from Millesime 2018: Into the Future

A Postcard from Millesime 2018: Into the Future

Millesime, the fanciful food fair presented in Mexico for the past eight years, is a grand homage to top end gastronomy. The point of the event is to induce mouths to water with the best Mexico has to offer, in the hope that customers will be seduced into a love affair with the featured chefs, restaurants, products, wines, spirits and other goodies. Booths manned by chefs both stellar and less so represent the country’s best-known dining venues. They offer samples of their wares in the form of bijou-like morsels, to well-heeled cocktail-toting visitors.

The scene is the Banamex center, a generic corporate edifice designed to house promotional events of all sorts. The panoramic views of the neighboring race track are only to be imagined as nary a horse is in sight from the window-less ground floor space utilized for this particular party. Each year, a theme is imposed, décor put together by some of the country’s best designers and architects. The interior of the building is transformed into what resembles an impossibly tasteful Vegas casino (striving for Monaco). This year the theme was ‘high tech’ though it was hard to discern any tech at all through the glitz; Silicon Valley remained as more of a leitmotif. A few chefs, notably the supremely talented Gabriela Ruiz, through her food/sound pairing, attempted to explore futurist concepts, though cooking at its best veered towards the classic.

Each day, special collaborative lunches, prepared by top-notch international chefs with much fanfare but varying degrees of culinary success, were served to scores of lucky diners. Wine, beer and mezcal tastings were offered. A huge bar area from which eminated freeflowing cocktails, cigars and DJ spun disks, hosted increasingly relaxed guests who mingled as at an upscale wedding reception.

While decadent, the affair continues to serve its purpose, that is, to promote, elevate and dignify our incredible restaurant scene, talented young chefs (several of whom were awarded much deserved prizes) and spectacular products. More power to it. Below is a brief visual tour of the proceedings.

 All’s ready at the bar.

All’s ready at the bar.

 Oysters at  Sargazo , Mexico’s purveyor of high end seafood from Baja California

Oysters at Sargazo, Mexico’s purveyor of high end seafood from Baja California

 Chef Marco Carboni of  Sartoria  offers too-small samples of superb Sardinian gnocchi

Chef Marco Carboni of Sartoria offers too-small samples of superb Sardinian gnocchi

 Paul Bentley, Australian chef of Guadalajara’s superb  Magno Brasserie  was a returning invitee

Paul Bentley, Australian chef of Guadalajara’s superb Magno Brasserie was a returning invitee

 Sommelier Andrés Amor led casual, friendly wine tastings

Sommelier Andrés Amor led casual, friendly wine tastings

 Chef Gabriela Ruiz, from  Carmela y Sal  leads customers through her pairing of food and music, a novel idea that was surprisingly accessible and referred to this year’s theme of ‘technology’

Chef Gabriela Ruiz, from Carmela y Sal leads customers through her pairing of food and music, a novel idea that was surprisingly accessible and referred to this year’s theme of ‘technology’

 Chef Gabriela Ruiz, from Carmela y Sal leads customers through her pairing of food and music, a novel idea that was surprisingly accessible and referred to this year’s theme of ‘technology’

Chef Gabriela Ruiz, from Carmela y Sal leads customers through her pairing of food and music, a novel idea that was surprisingly accessible and referred to this year’s theme of ‘technology’

 Chef David Castro Hussong heads the Valle de Guadalupe’s  Fauna , one of this year’s most talked about openings. Here he presented lightly-tweaked jewel-like shellfish

Chef David Castro Hussong heads the Valle de Guadalupe’s Fauna, one of this year’s most talked about openings. Here he presented lightly-tweaked jewel-like shellfish

 ‘Joven chef’ winner José Luis Hinostroza conjured up spectacular sea urchin filled oranges

‘Joven chef’ winner José Luis Hinostroza conjured up spectacular sea urchin filled oranges

 candidates for the young talent award, include the chefs of Meroma,, winner Hinostroza, Castro Hussong and Marco Cruz

candidates for the young talent award, include the chefs of Meroma,, winner Hinostroza, Castro Hussong and Marco Cruz

 ‘Joven chef’ winner José Luis Hinostroza of  Arca  in Tulum accepts his award

‘Joven chef’ winner José Luis Hinostroza of Arca in Tulum accepts his award

 A restaurant interior by architect  Adán Cárabes

A restaurant interior by architect Adán Cárabes

 Peruvian James Berckemeyer of Lima’s spectacular  Cosme  flew in to show what can be done to a simple plate of raw fish.

Peruvian James Berckemeyer of Lima’s spectacular Cosme flew in to show what can be done to a simple plate of raw fish.

 This pithiviers filled with duck, an old-time haute cuisine dish fit for the Dowager Countess, was presented by special guest chef Atsumi Sota, formerly of Paris’ Clown Bar and soon to open his own place there.  Chef Atsumi, Japan-born, has been showing Parisians what for with his classic French cooking, and they are acknowledging his talent if reluctantly. This is his signature dish and it was textbook perfect.

This pithiviers filled with duck, an old-time haute cuisine dish fit for the Dowager Countess, was presented by special guest chef Atsumi Sota, formerly of Paris’ Clown Bar and soon to open his own place there. Chef Atsumi, Japan-born, has been showing Parisians what for with his classic French cooking, and they are acknowledging his talent if reluctantly. This is his signature dish and it was textbook perfect.

 DJ Nicolás Manterola rocks the house…

DJ Nicolás Manterola rocks the house…

 …while guests relax.

…while guests relax.

 The author and his photographer take a break.

The author and his photographer take a break.

See our previous posts on Millesime:
Millesime 2015: Send in the Clowns
Millesime 2016: It’s a Party!

Photos: Sebastian Manterola Ogarrio

France is in the Air: Le Bon Bistrot & L'Aperô

France is in the Air: Le Bon Bistrot & L'Aperô