Mexican chef Elena Reygadas, owner of Rosetta restaurant in Mexico City, is the recipient of the Veuve Clicquot award for Best Female Chef of Latin America 2014. According to the prestigious jury her cooking is restrained, seasonal and thoughtful but also imaginative, earning Reygadas an increasingly feted reputation.” Reygadas will accept the award on September 3rd in Lima, Peru, during a ceremony that will also reveal the top 50 restaurants in Latin America.
Chef Elena Reygadas.
Elena Reygadas has impeccable intellectual and culinary backgrounds. She studied English Literature at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). After completing her studies, she moved to New York, where her intense love for cooking motivated her to enroll in Manhattan’s illustrious French Culinary Institute. She would later travel to London and work in several restaurants before joining the esteemed Locanda Locatelli restaurant, run by Chef Giorgio Locatelli. She remained there for five intense and productive years and learned the intricacies and secrets of the best classic Italian cuisine.
Upon her return to Mexico City, Reygadas chose an old house in the posh Rome neighborhood and opened Rosetta restaurant where she offers international cuisine with a strong Italian imprint. Hers is a distinctive space full of nostalgia, peaceful and charming, a nod to a simpler past with bare tables adorned with flowers and truly amazing food. From day one, the restaurant displayed a clear mixture of talent and commitment to excellent cuisine, coupled with an honest and clear intention of balancing a menu of gentle, mild flavors and riskier options for the more adventurous palates.
Chef Reygadas daily chores exude care and passion, knowledge and rigor, as well as an intense love for her product. Rosetta has become one of the essential dining experiences in the Mexican capital, and Elena is personally responsible for it. She has been very active in the selection of furniture, suppliers and even the interior decor featuring her exquisite taste and her pleasure in reviving “the good old times.” As a side-business, in 2012 the chef opened the Rosetta Bakery, a veritable supplier of artisanal breads to some of the best restaurants in town.
Reygadas is part of the Mexican Cuisine Collective, a group of talented chefs that aims to support each other and find providers and staff to work together at gastronomic festivals. “Festivals are very important because they allow us to become decentralized and share what we do with the rest of the country,” says the Mexican chef. “On the other hand, there is always something to learn. I was recently in Oaxaca and became acquainted with ingredients that I had never seen before. Gastronomy is culture and it’s amazing what it can do for a country.”
William Drew, director of Magazine Restaurant, publishers of the famous list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America, said: “We are very proud to bestow— along with Veuve Clicquot— this award to Elena Reygadas. Celebrating the success of the most-talented female chefs is a mission of great importance. With this, we hope to inspire future generations of women in Latin America and the world to choose this profession.” ■