Paul Wilson is a champion of Latin-American food and he’s well known for taking traditional dishes and reinvigorating them for a modern palate. These aspects of the acclaimed chef’s passions come together for his new cookbook, Cantina: Recipes from a Mexican Kitchen.
“There’s still so much more to learn about Mexican foods and so many more new ingredients to explore which will blow your mind,” says the chef, who believes that it’s time we went beyond the cheesy burrito and dug deeper into Latin cuisine.
“You can’t understand the true beauty and excitement of a food culture if it’s represented and judged by a fast-food hero. Aztec food culture shaped the way we eat today in so many other forms, like the humble barbecue, for example. The book takes you on a friendly journey of how at-home Mexican flavours and techniques can re-energise your cooking,” says Wilson.
Wilson is well respected for his time at Melbourne’s The Botanical and has been responsible for the food at Acland Street Cantina, the Newmarket Hotel and was culinary founder of The Melbourne Pub Group among other things. Most recently he’s been the culinary director at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar in Bondi, as well as contributing to the Ciroc collective’s Bar de The in Darlinghurst.
“I love to travel and the history of food inspired me to focus on Mexican/Aztec food culture, which shaped the food of Latin America to one of the world’s largest and most important food cultures,” says Wilson.
Cantina is about delving into the very heart of authentic Mexican food. We’re introduced to the building blocks of Mexican cooking with sections for street food, meat, moles and barbecues, as well as ancient grains and vegetables. There is also a burst of inspiring and vibrant images. And smoky cold medina and spicy michelada drinks.
Cantina: Recipes from a Mexican Kitchen is available from all good bookstores.