Enrique Olvera, more than any other chef, convinced the world that Mexico City is an essential pin on every global food map. Now he shares the classic places that inspire his brilliant Mexican cooking.
Ghosts are everywhere in Mexico City, looming massively over the living. At the highest point in Bosque de Chapultepec, the city’s gracefully scrubby central park, the dead are stacked up like churros in David Alfaro Siqueiros’s 1957 mural of martyrs to the Revolution. Closer to earth, in the posh apartment zone of Polanco, chef Enrique Olvera’s dead grandfather—photographed like a silver-screen star—gazes like a specter on everyone entering or leaving the city’s most famous restaurant, Pujol.
I’m in Mexico City for a ghost tour of my own: I want to find the dishes that haunt Olvera’s memory. This is the food that inspires the 39-year-old hero of modern Mexican gastronomy, both at Pujol and at his year-old New York City restaurant, Cosme.