There’s a serious buzz around San Miguel de Allende—and for a good reason. People are flocking to the city in Mexico for its incredible art, friendly community, and most of all, for its delicious food. The caliber of San Miguel de Allende’s cuisine has inspired chefs the world over to open foodie outposts there, plus it was the locale of last season’s Top Chef finale. So…yeah, the food scene here went from a simmer to a rapid boil. Within this ciudad caliente, Chef Matteo Salas is an unquestionable standout. As the owner and Executive Chef of Aperi (which means “open” in Latin), Salas wants to “open” your senses and your palette; he certainly does just that with dishes like roasted duck breast with wine geleé and creamy foie gras with hibiscus and sugar-coated pistachios. Chef Salas cooks up some of the best farm-to-table modern cuisine not only South of the border, but internationally as well. Once friend of The Tig, Amanda Blakley, made the intro, Chef Salas sent us his Chefs Talk all the way from the great city of San Miguel de Allende. Gracias Chef!
What's the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?
For my team and me, the staff meal is very important. The most wanted meal is roasted chicken with homemade french fries. It’s kind of a ritual for all the team. We served this meal in a big wood table and everybody digs in to it. The simplest recipes are the most difficult to do, and every cook in the restaurant rotates for the cooking of the staff meal, so everybody has the chance to express themselves with variation of this “simple dish.”And since we’re in Mexico, sometimes the chicken turns up with chiles marinade or stuffed with aromatic Mexican herbs like epazote, hoja santa and cilantro.
What is the one knife you can't live without?
My Misono knife!
What's your naughty food indulgence?
Tacos al pastor with hot sauce.
What's your mini bar go to?
I like to snack on dark chocolate or dark fruits.
If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?
After a long day at work you go home and…?
I change my son’s diaper and then I make something to eat with my wife and then sleep!
If you weren't working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?
I’d be a Marine Biologist.
Drink of choice?
Water, cucumber, mint, and lemon.
One cookbook you can't live without/most referenced?
What's the most overrated ingredient?
I think that mini vegetables—sprouts and all the baby ingredients are overrated, but most of all, it’s really the ingredients themselves that are misused.
Describe your cooking in one word: