night one: un paseo por la milpa
We are pairing up with our good friends at WhenWhereWhat Austin to bring you a pop-up dinner that is bigger and grander than anything we've done before. It's something we've talked about, dreamed about, and now, we're bringing it to life for you to experience it.
For this one, we're opening up spots at the dinner table in the breathtaking Loot showroom. Just you wait.
Guests will enjoy an 8 course dinner prepared by Chef Gabe Erales and Chef Pablo Soto. Gabe and Pablo worked together at Noma MX as well as worked at Noma Copenhagen at separate times. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Noma Copenhagen is one of the most well-respected, sought-after restaurants in the world (literally, it has been named World's Best Restaurant several times) and Noma MX was the 7-week pop-up restaurant in Tulum that was met with unparalleled reviews. Gabe and Pablo worked closely together in the test kitchen at Noma MX developing and creating unique dishes together. This dinner is not only special to us, but also to Gabe & Pablo as it will be the last time the two will cook together for awhile.
If you asked us to bring together our dream venue and dream chefs to work with — well, you're looking at it. Take our word for it, you want a seat at this dining table.
And did we mention? There will also be live music.
Read on for words from Chef Gabe Erales himself:
"This dinner is inspired by what is known in Mexico as La Milpa. La Milpa is a historic Mesoamerican-Mexican agricultural system that encourages biodiversity while minimizing waste. The system is primarily based on methods developed by Mayans in the Yucatan peninsula and centered around producing corn, beans, squash and chilies. This probably sounds super cryptic in reference to a pop up dinner but the relevance lies within the recent abundance of local farmers in Austin that are putting forth the effort to grow landrace Mexican heirloom corn, beans and chilies which is in essence a direct reflection of Milpa agricultural practices in small communities throughout Mexico.
What I find even more beautiful and relevant to this dinner is that the concept of Milpa also has social implications that mirror the practical methodologies of farming and agriculture. The development of la milpa requires intimacy between farmers, community, land and crops. This results in what some consider to be a sacred rite of passage with a social importance that some feel may have more value than the practical value of harvesting crops for nutrition and economical reasons. We would be celebrating our own local Milpa.
There will be courses focused solely on corn and derivatives there of it not even letting the so much as the husks go to waste. Wild boar will be a key piece to the dinner as well due to their invasive nature that can devastate crops. They were believed to be introduced to Mexico by the Spanish and have flourished throughout Mexico migrating north ever since. Summer squash, chilies and beans will also be a part of this dinner. Above all this dinner will be a treated as intimate family gathering so we will be serving various moles from to start (savory) to finish (sweet). As such there there is a saying in Mexico, "para ir a un mole", means to go to a celebration!"
About Chef Gabe Erales & Chef Pablo Soto
Gabe was raised heavily influenced by the Mexican culture around him. He was especially impacted by the food he grew up eating cooked by his Mother and Father before they moved to the El Paso, TX from the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
He began working in kitchens at the age of 16 before moving to Austin where he graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Le Cordon Bleu with a certificate in Culinary Arts.
As the soul of his cooking lies in Mexican cuisine he spent time cooking locally working for the late Miguel Ravago at Fonda San Miguel and Rene Ortiz at La Condesa. He then led the kitchen at Geraldine’s (Hotel Van Zandt) focusing on menu development. Gabe’s most influential kitchen experiences have come from working for Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due and Rene Redzepi of Noma where he felt he learned the true meaning of maximizing local resources as well as head to tail for both animals and vegetables. Gabe most recently spent the spring of 2017 working in the Noma Mexico test kitchen for their Tulum residency. He is currently working with Jesse Griffiths to open Dai Due Taqueria this fall at the Fareground project in downtown Austin.
Pablo was born in Mexico city and has been living and traveling abroad since the age of 5. He started cooking in professional kitchens at the age of 17 and has completed studies in Mexico and Monte-Carlo.
Noma, Joel Robuchon, Grâce, Alinea and Pujol are some of the restaurants that have made him passionate and detailed in his work.
After a couple of years consulting in the Caribbean and Central America , he joined the Noma Mexico test kitchen early this year, and now prepares to move back to Europe for an interesting new chapter in fine dining.
photo 2 - Jaime Fritsch - @soilfoot
photo 3 - Jim Sullivan- @mediumraw_