We’re pleased to bring you a recap of our very own Baja Culinary Day at The Ranch. The day went well beyond our expectations! It was a celebration of local cuisine and culture that was a sight to behold and filled our tummies with goodness. The food was prepared by world-renowned local chefs such as Benito Molina, Solange Muris, Javier Plascencia, Diego Hernández, Chad White, Mariela Manzano, Denise Roa and Ryan Steyn among many others.
This is only Part I of the photos I took. I was inspired by the creativity of the Baja culture and cuisine and I hope it comes across in the photos. Enjoy!
On what inspires Chef Mariela Manzano’s cuisine:
“In Baja California, I feel we have everything. I think definitely my mother and her food inspire me all the time. And then I try to rescue old traditional Mexican flavors and try to use all the foods from Baja California and rescue local produce from Tecate. El Lugar de Nos actually works with 80% of local produce just from Tecate. That’s my philosophy definitely because I think I can find everything here in Tecate.”
- Chef Mariela Manzano of El Lugar De Nos Restaurant in Tecate
On the food renaissance in Baja California, Chef Molina states:
“Well, it’s only a matter of time that it would happen. You know, we have the best seafood, the best wine, the best olive oil. So it was just a matter of time. Mexican tourists discovered it first I guess because the American tourists were so scared to cross the border that they stopped coming. Little by little they are coming back. The surfers never stopped coming or the racers, but I mean people in San Diego they just stopped coming. Which is sad, but on the other hand, we say a lot, ‘what are we going to do?’ We’re not going to just close shop and go if those from San Diego don’t come. So things work in a weird way. Now we have more tourists from Mexico City and Guadalajara and Monterrey than from the States.”
- Chef Benito Molina of Manzanilla Restaurant in Ensenada
It was an honor to speak with such talented chefs at our event and learn more about the Baja region. I will be definitely be heading down south from San Diego much more often. There so many places to explore and delicious foods to be tasted. My first stop is El Lugar de Nos in Tecate, and Manzanilla in Ensenada. Stay tuned for more photos in Part II!