Colin’s Cantina chef Cesar Gerardo in Mexico City for advanced culinary training
Colin’s does all it can to be the restaurant that people want to come back to. Every day, the talented folks who work behind the counter do their best to see that everything is ‘just right’.
“Tomorrow, I’m going to Hermosillo, then flying to Mexico city” chef Cesar Gerardo tells me. Cesar has been with Colin’s from it’s start, and also worked in one or two incarnations of the Princesa restaurant before that. With lots of experience in the kitchen, he knows his stuff. Now, he will add a new set of tools.
“For a month, I will be there at two schools. First is for Pre-Hispanic cooking, and then a school for International cuisine.” The month long stay in Mexico’s capitol will expose him to preparing food the way it is done in the world’s finest restaurants. After years of experience, this will be his first opportunity for official training, and certification.
Combining state of the art kitchen techniques with the roots of Mexico’s ancient traditions will give Cesar a unique combination of skills. We will have to wait and see what surprises will be coming to the Colin’s menu. We will check in with Cesar and see how things are going a little later on.  .  .
Update 1. First days, La Niñopa, experiencing Mexican culture up close
.  .  .  Good timing! Cesar updates us that his first day at La Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana happens to be Candelaria. February second is celebrated worldwide as one of the most important Catholic feast days. Just like Dia de Los Muertos, Candelaria is a particularly Mexican holiday, with roots that are ancient.
Around the world, traditional celebrations took place at this time of year to mark the ending of winter, and the time to plant. With the establishment of the Church, a Pre-Columbian feast day transitioned into Roman Catholic Candelaria.
Candelaria celebrations center on the story of Jesus being presented in the temple. Figures depicting the Christ Child reside with a family for an entire year, culminating in a return to the church on Candelaria. The sponsoring family treats this figure with great care, like a real child, and is responsible for its presence in the spiritual life of the community. On Candelaria,  a new family becomes the patron of the ‘doll’ for the next year.
One particular figure, known as la Niñopa (Nino = child, pa(le) =father, or Father Child), is part of the community of Xochimilco. The town, now a part of Mexico city, was originally a small farming community.
Xochimilco’s Niñopa dates back to 1573! Evidence suggests that the town received La Niñopa as a gift from Martin Corteś, the son of Conquistador Hernán Cortés and Doña Marina (known as La Malinche).
La Escuela de Gastronomia in Mexico City takes part in festivities for Candelaria. The photo above shows students (Cesar included) in a procession to Xochimilco. In this photo, they are accompanying the school’s director, Yuri de Gortari.
Yuri de Gortari is a prominent figure in the resurgence of Mexican cuisine, known throughout Mexico for his books, television programs, and of course this school.
Cesar is thrilled to be a part of the living tradition of his country’s culture, and promises to share  more with us in the coming days.