Less than a year after opening Copenhagen’s new favourite Mexican restaurant SANCHEZ, ex-Noma chef Rosio Sanchez has found new power in bringing her unique take on taco culture to the bustling Scandinavian metropolis.
Rosio Sanchez’s menu acts an ode to Mexico and Denmark, featuring tacos and tostadas alongside oysters spiked with sea buckthorn and crudités served with avocado and gooseberry dip.
But the path to creating a seamless Mexican-meets-Danish menu hasn’t always been easy. A Mexican American chef born in Chicago, Sanchez has struggled with identity throughout her cooking career. In Copenhagen, she’s often considered to be of Mexican descent. But in Mexico, Sanchez is labelled an American visitor.
Taking the stage at the sixth MAD Symposium in Copenhagen this month, Sanchez described how abandoning these monolithic notions of identity helped her create an entirely new genre of cooking. We caught up with Sanchez at MAD to learn more.
C100B: How do you define your cooking at SANCHEZ?
RS: The food is a reflection of the team we have in the kitchen. We have mostly Mexican cooks that bring Mexican tradition, and there’s also some European influence from all my years spent in Copenhagen. We’re not making authentic Mexican cuisine but it’s not fusion or contemporary cuisine either.
C100B: In your talk, you spoke about how young cooks are taught to pursue perfection via someone else’s vision, and that this can make finding your own culinary voice difficult. What’s your advice to young cooks searching for their vision?
RS: Cooks have to get comfortable being in beta-mode. It’s a long process and I’m still working on finding my own voice every day. But I always tell my partners, even if our concept fails and we have to close, it’s ok because we did it the way we wanted to do it, and our vision was uncompromised.
C100B: How does it feel to bring taco culture to Copenhagen—a city known for its Michelin-studded dining scene?
RS: I’m really happy to do it. We’re not carrying the torch of representing all Mexican food here in Denmark, but I’m proud that we can help lift people’s perception of what Mexican food can be.
Part one of a three-part series from Canada’s 100 Best contributor Claudia McNeilly, who was on location at MAD 6.
PHOTOS: JASON IDRIS ALAMI