Oaxaca chefs gather Saturday to pay culinary tribute to Cayuco’s José Miguel Cruz

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Ten Oaxaca chefs will gather at Zicatela Beach Saturday in support of Cayuco Cocina y Mezcal, whose founder and chef was killed in a motorcycle accident in August.

Cayuco will celebrate both its anniversary and the life of José Miguel Cruz Arana with a culinary tribute in which chefs Tania and América, who worked under Cruz, will be joined by 10 guest chefs from many of the state’s top restaurants.

Chef Cruz left a mark on those close to him at home and in the kitchen, in Puerto Escondido and the entire state.

The guest chefs include Rodolfo Castellanos from Origen; Alejandro Ruiz, Casa Oaxaca; Roberto Cruz, Terraza Zicatela; Gerardo Carrera, Sabina Sabe; Rubén Castillo, Cabane Resto; Manuel Baños, Pitiona; Saúl Carranza, Agua Salá; Gerson Madrid Castro, Metxcalli; José Luis Sosa, Mustekala; Luis Arellano, Criollo; and César Álvarez Macayo from Casa Macayo’s.

The 10 will be donating their time and culinary expertise for the event.

Chef Cruz’s conception of cuisine starts with the name he chose for his Zicatela restaurant: Cayuco. 

A cayuco is a small wooden canoe, usually carved from a single piece of wood.

During a trip along the Coast region, Cruz visited the Corralero mangroves, part of the greater Corralero-Alotengo lagoon system in Pinotepa Nacional. There, he witnessed a local fisherman collecting small black mussels known locally as tichindas. The mollusks thrive in fresh water, making their nests on the very roots of the mangrove, and are used locally to prepare tamales.

The image of the small but functional cayuco left an impression on Cruz, who decided then and there that his restaurant would be rooted in the gastronomy of Oaxaca.

Originally from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, Chef Cruz artfully blended the meals he knew in his youth with the life and seafood of the coast, all brought together by his professional training at ICUM, the Culinary Institute of México based in Puebla city.

With Saturday’s dinner celebration, the 10 guest chefs intend to show their love and admiration for Chef Cruz, and pay homage to his culinary convictions.

Whatever funds are raised during the event will be used to renovate the premises at Cayuco, as well as other administrative expenses.

The “family style” meal will begin at 5:30 p.m. and include a welcome cocktail, a mezcal aperitif, white wine, and the culinary proposals of the guest chefs.

The cost is 1,500 pesos (US $77) per person. Call 954-134-5777 or 951-117-0538 to register. Seating is limited.

El Sol de Puerto


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