Q&As

The Chef’s 8: Pedro Abascal, Thompson Playa del Carmen

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf wrote “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” In that spirit, we’re picking the brains of those who make the latter happen: chefs. Next up is Pedro Abascal of Thompson Playa del Carmen.

Q The first dish you learned how to make:
A

Probably Tabbouleh. We were vegetarians back in those days and my mother was always looking to make something different besides traditional Mexican food which is pretty veggie on the roots. Then the first plate I did as a job was some burgers and hot dogs from a joint I used to work at in my hometown of Morelia, those days I was willing to learn from today´s legends like Charlie Trotter, Joel Robuchon or Ferran Adria.

Q Every first-time diner at your restaurant should try:
A

Ceviche! It is a mainstay at all of our restaurants. We love ceviches and tiraditos as they are simple, funky and really fresh plates everyone loves for lunch or dinner or hot days by the beach. We get fresh produce from local fishermen and we are proud of getting seasonal fruits and vegetables so we are able to change our ceviches everyday, always with Mexican flavors top of mind.

Ceviche! It is a mainstay at all of our restaurants. We love ceviches and tiraditos as they are simple, funky and really fresh plates everyone loves for lunch or dinner or hot days by the beach.
Q The best seat in the house:
A

The terrace at Catch restaurant with a great view of the rooftop of our hotel and on the other side, the Caribbean from the 5th floor. Also, excellent views from the 5th Avenue, which is always fun to watch, or a sunbed at the beach house will do.

Pedro Abascal headshot
Q Must have kitchen tool:
A

I cannot live without fresh made tortillas, so a tortilla maker is a basic tool as well a stone molcajete. A wood-fire grill is always fun and of course sous vide and thermal circulator helps a lot for prep and faster expediting.

Q Favorite flavor or ingredient of the moment:
A

Chicatana ant. This small insect had a unique smoky and soil kind of flavor and as a seasonal product we take advantage of them. This is a flying ant that comes out with the first rain of the season, it is something truly extraordinary for cooking salsas, marinades or as a snack.

Q After hours drink of choice:
A

For just one drink a small glass of Tepextate Mezcal. For a few, a good gin tonic always does well.

Q If you weren't a chef, you would be:
A

F1 driver and part time surfer. Sounds good, right?

Q The city you would most like to eat your way through and why:
A

I have two: Mexico City because of its diversity and the traditional food you can find anywhere. The other has to be New York City, you will find something new every time and the classics that will be there forever, besides the simple but still ridiculously good coffee and pastry shops.