Mayan Honey, a Heavy Molcajete and other Kitchen Essentials from a Chef who Cooks on the Riviera Maya

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma
Here's what Juan Pablo Loza can't live without.

Juan Pablo Loza, executive chef at the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort on the Riviera Maya, seeks out inspiration from some of North America's greatest chefs when he cooks for his family and friends. However, his roots are always on display as well in his home kitchen on the Yucatán Peninsula. He shared his five kitchen essentials when he stopped by the F&W Test Kitchen this week to make his Carne Asada Tacos

The pan he can't live without:

Loza likes to cook simply at home and reduce the amount of cleanup needed. "I normally use the same pan, just a good, stainless steel sauté pan, for everything," he says. "I wish I could do a book on one pan cooking to encourage more people to cook this way."

The cookbooks he values most:

While Loza embraces the culinary traditions of his home country, he also seeks out techniques from chefs outside of Mexico. "I love a lot of cookbooks, they are a great resource for me," he explains. "The Hartwood cookbook is so beautiful. Also, The French Laundry Cookbook is very inspiring and I love to cook from Yucatán as well."

The kitchen gift he cherishes most:

"My molcajete (Mexican-style mortar and pestle) has been passed down from generation to generation in my family," he says. "However, it’s too small so I don’t use it all that often. Instead, I have another molcajete that is larger that I usually use for bigger parties."

The most important tool in his kitchen:

"My favorite kitchen tool is a Microplane," he explains. "It is so good for fine grading and zesting and it can help you add so much flavor while cooking."

The one item he always has in his pantry:

"I always have Mayan honey stocked in my kitchen and salt, of course," he says. "I also really love French mustard. Those three all balance together very nicely."

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