Chef Quetzalcoatl Zurita
Quetzalcóatl hails originally from Santos Reyes Nopala, a small community in the heart of Oaxaca’s Chatino country. Throughout his childhood, he was able to spend time visiting the many distinct regions of this mountainous southern state that is also partially encircled by water.
Be it the isthmus region of Tehuantepec, the central valleys or especially the wide open expanse of the many towns along the coast, they all left an indellible mark in the young chef’s culinary tastes. He recalls having clear memories of his encounters with new flavors and combinations that would stick around for decades and are now reflected in his contemporary gastronomic creations. Among the memorable discoveries, he remembers the vivid aromas of firewood heating up the comal (the traditional Mexican clay griddle), fresh milk and cheese made by his grandmother, tomatoes and tusta chiles roasting, which were then transferred to the ancient stone molcajete (mortar) to be mashed and create the most delicious salsas and moles.
He credits his nanny Doña Aurea Santiago for inspiring his love for cooking. As an eight-year old, he began to help her and learn from her. The flavors he tasted watching her create as she moved about her kitchen are the foundations of his cuisine; flavors which left more traces than any other in his culinary memory. Later, he studied at the Instituto Culinario de México in the state of Puebla’s capital city – also a culinary hub with deep traditions in central Mexico- this experience, opened his eyes to new flavors and techniques, reaffirming his passion for cooking.
In his career as a professional cook, he has had the opportunity to learn from top mexican chefs as he became involved in several contemporary kitchens across the country and now internationally. Amongst them, his training at Pujol in Mexico City, considered one of the best restaurants in the world, taught him a cuisine with world class standards, a love for fresh produce and ingredients, as well as great attention to detailed processes. At the age of 23, as a full-fledged chef, he decided to embark on an entrepeneurial quest and opened his first restaurant in the hidden port of Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. The result is an
haute-cuisine Oaxacan restaurant that revives the ingredients from his childhood kitchen mixed with the professional-creative-experimental manner of contemporary Mexican cuisine. The name honors his Nana’s favorite herb-- a commemoration of the gift of his first great mentor and teacher
In 2013, chef Quetzalcóatl Zurita, alongside his wife and colleague chef Shalxaly Macías, opened Almoraduz: "We opened with more soul than budget and over the last six years it has been very rewarding to watch it grow, along with Puerto Escondido, which as a whole is gradually becoming a gastronomic destination in Oaxaca".
Almoraduz is a unique concept on the coast distinguished by continually evolving and integrating the wonders of Oaxacan cuisine executed with both traditional and contemporary techniques. The menu is an avant-garde offering with seasonally changing dishes featuring ingredients produced organically by local farmers and the freshest fish delivered directly from the waters of the Mexican Pacific.
Recommended as a place of reference in 2017 by The New York Times, Almoraduz offers fresh and creative dishes, full of colors and memorable flavors.
“The kitchen is a living entity, it is sensitive to many factors. It’s something that connects people, identifies places, marks moments, inspires me in all its facets. Trying something new is always magical regardless of the place, the kitchen inspires me to understand that everything comes from within, and serving a dish goes beyond providing food, it is giving away a piece of oneself to others.”
-Chef Quetzalcóatl Zurita-