Sydney’s Mexican scene in no way resembles the real deal, and with our geographic remoteness from Mexico, Australians will probably always struggle to get anything decent at restaurants. Luckily, our best Mexican food does not come from restaurants, but is being cooked by chef Travis Harvey at the Essential Ingredient’s Rozelle cooking school. I have been invited to two of Travis’s cooking classes, and I have been blown away every single time. Travis’ knowledge of Mexican food is encyclopaedic, and I am not one for hyperbole. I get the impression Travis knows more about Mexican food than I know about Lebanese food. Travis has been researching Mexican food for many years. He has spent much time in Mexico where he got the opportunity to learn firsthand all these traditional Mexican recipes he is teaching. And his food is so damned interesting and awesome that I want to be this guy’s best friend.
I’ve learned so much about Mexican food that go far beyond recipes and dishes simply be hearing Travis talk about how the food interplays with the culture. But I’ve also learned about the large variety of chilis used in Mexican cuisine, the variance in their uses and flavour profiles; I’ve learned how to make a real mole in a way that a book could never teach me; I’ve learned about amazing ingredients like an out of this world goat’s milk caramel; how to use a comal to bring the best flavours out of ingredients; how tortilla dough should feel like in order to turn out the good stuff; how boiled and grilled sweet corn with chili and parmesan can rock your world… However, I don’t want this post to be an account of the class itself, because that would be pointless. You have to see it to believe it. I can not encourage you enough to go visit Travis and learn from him. The food is amazing and the class is educational while also being a whole lot of fun (you finish up by eating what you cooked along with some great wine). I promise you, you will want to go back over and over again. Do it! For information on classes at The Essential Ingredient, click here.