Cooking for the pope? Leave out the chiles and don’t bother to offer tap or sparkling.
On a recent visit to Mexico City, Pope Francis skipped the local street food in favor of meals catered by local chef Jose Ibarra. According to teleSUR, Ibarra was told not to cook anything spicy, to work with the freshest ingredients and to keep the portions small and light. “A person who is 80 years old, you have to look after their digestion,” Ibarra said. “You think that you’re going to cook the pope the best, something really, really extravagant. But in reality no, it’s something very simple. This Pope in particular is very simple, noble.” The pope did enjoy one minor luxury, though. He brought his own bottled water from Rome.
Though Ibarra says he has no plans to advertise the pope’s visit to his restaurant, which he says is more for “parties,” it might serve him well to take inspiration from chef Jessie Sincioco. She cooked for the pope during his visit to the Philippines last year and was then overwhelmed by diners eager to try her “Holy Father’s Menu.” Composed of some of the pope’s favorite dishes, the menu included beef consommé, roasted Black Angus beef and flambéed mango. “The turnout was really amazing,” Sinioco told GMA News Online. “We were really overbooked.”