6 Questions with Diego & Rico

What inspires you two the most?

Our creative process works best when we find something that resonates. It’s like a key to a secret lock, and inside is a field of endless possibilities. Other times, we’ve had some really great ideas by simply misunderstanding a phrase or image. We never go back to reread it or understand it better, we just keep moving forward with the misunderstanding and let it unravel on its own.

Your mission is to “Rescue. Preserve. Protect. Promote.” Where does the ‘rescue’ part come from?

Many times we come across dishes and recipes that are little known outside their perspective origins. Even then, time can wash away the memory of a dish. We did a mole called Uliche a few years ago. It is supposedly one of the oldest recorded recipes dating back to the Maya. During that menu a chef from Tabasco who was visiting told us that even in her home state, it was very rare to see such an ancient dish. Another favorite was techuitlatl, a spirulina cracker we did for our Conquista menu. This was a reference to an ancient ingredient, spirulina, that is not so common in Mexican gastronomy today. However, it is making a comeback!

The ever-changing menu at Mixtli rotates through each of Mexico’s 32 states. What’s been the greatest surprise so far?

There have been so many stories that we encounter in our research. From Samurai fighting Spanish conquistadors after arriving in Acapulco as emissaries traveling to Spain… To Irish immigrants defecting from the US to join the Mexican forces, as the St Patrick’s Battalion. Undoubtedly the most interesting threads to pull are the ones that reaffirm the unique interconnectivity we all share as citizens of the Earth.

Presentation matters a lot to you both. How would you describe the Mixtli aesthetic?

Clean, minimalistic, and conveys inspiration. It is meant to tell a story and offer homage to the creators, the growers, and the origin.

Art, architecture, mezcal, music–you’re interested in more than just food, you’re really looking at the entire culture and history of Mexico.

Yes, oftentimes menus are not created by pouring over old cookbooks. Instead, taking into account all the agencies that tell the story of Mexico we find our inspiration for the experience we want to offer.

What are you most excited about heading to the Yucatán?

Visiting ancient Mayan territory and to walk on land filled with so much history, magic, and marvel.