It’s no surprise that Grupo Habita, pioneers in the hospitality scene in Mexico, have tied up with ONA, a culinary movement committed to creating ephemeral food experiences while empowering young chefs and celebrating high-quality local ingredients. At Círculo Mexicano in Mexico City, ONA founder Luca Pronzato, formerly from Michelin-star Noma Copenhagen, invited chef Romain Tischenko, a well-known name from the Paris food scene to take over the kitchen for three months. Tischenko created a tasting menu, combining French cuisine with Mexican ingredients. The pop-up ONA Le Toit served up a weekly changing menu that explored Mexico’s rich cultural heritage of cooking over open fires. We had a brief chat with the rising chef about his journey and beyond.
When I was young I used to work with my uncle in his restaurant during the holidays for fun and here I discovered the restaurant’s rush, organization, and team spirit. So at 14, I started culinary school in Normandy. I already knew that being a chef can take you everywhere, so I decided to move to Nice at Le Palais de la Méditerranée. Then I did a season in Megève at La Taverne du Mont d’arbors and after that at the Michelin-star Le Grand Hotel in Saint Jean de Luz. Finally, I arrived in Paris in 2008 to work with William Ledeuil at the Michelin-star restaurant Kitchen Gallery. In 2010, I was offered the first edition of Top Chef France. First of all, winning Top Chef allowed me to follow my vision and create my own cuisine. It also helped me to open my first restaurant, Le Galopin, Paris, in 2011 and in 2014, a natural wine bar. I was one of the young chefs of the French bistronomie.
No, it is not the first time. We worked together one year ago in Lisbon, Portugal. When you take on a pop-up restaurant with ONA, it’s very fun and you can do whatever you want.
I don’t have favorite ingredients for now. I really want to discover Mexican cuisine from the inside! I love the way of eating in Mexico… grab something from the street with all that color and different tastes.
For me, it’s the way you have to do it. I’m used to changing my menu once a week and even sometimes once a day. I change it with my mood, with the weather, with seasons.
Pierre Gagnaire is very quiet and inspiring. Moreover, he can change a dish in his menu in one second even if he’s started preparing it. I love his freedom.
When I am not cooking in my restaurant, I am home because it is the lockdown in France! (joke) I am always on the road to see other places, other chefs.