“Petite, energetic and possibly the most exuberant female chef in town, Mexican-born Patricia Jinich runs the culinary programs for the Mexican Cultural Institute, and with her contagious enthusiasm for Mexican culture and food, has attracted countless visitors to the landmark building on upper 16th Street”
(Photo by Andrew Harnik for the Examiner)
The Examiner: Chef brings her native taste of Mexico to DC
“When asked recently whether I was a collector of some sort, I thought of my grandmother’s cabinet that holds hundreds of elephant figurines — more than 60 years’ worth, from many places. And she’s still adding to the lot. So my response was no.
Then a few days later I realized that I am a collector: of foods tasted throughout my life, or at least the memories of them. This is especially true of salsas. I have countless papers scattered on my desk with notes about the names of them, the places I ate them, their ingredients, the cooks who made them and, when generously given, directions on how to re-create them…”
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“Growing up in Mexico City, my sisters and I used to prepare exotic meals, perfumes and potions for the inhabitants of our enchanted forest. That was our dog, the bluebird, snails, butterflies and ladybugs that happened to peek into our backyard and witness our extravagant mess. It also included any family friend who happened to stop by and become a willing victim. We sometimes offered cooking classes, too.
My mother set us up in the backyard on a big blanket with random pots and pans, while she cooked laborious weekend meals. There was a fig tree, an apple tree, a peach tree, a couple of what we called Chinese orange trees, and tons of azaleas and herbs that offered an immense array of witchcrafting material. But among our most prized ingredients were dried jamaica (pronounced ha-may-kah) flowers, known in the U.S. as hibiscus flowers, stored in a big jar in the kitchen…”
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NPR Kitchen Window: Jamaica Flowers Charm The Kitchen
“Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a vanilla class taught by Patricia Jinich, chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, where she sauteed vanilla bean for a salad! She said that, contrary to popular belief, vanilla did not originate in Madagascar but in Veracruz, Mexico. And she shared a love story about the legend behind the pod…”
Continue reading this article and check out the accompanied recipe of Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Salad with Sauteed Vanilla Bean click here!
“You know how some people just light up a room? In Patricia Jinich’s case it’s more than just a smile, although hers is spectacular. Its her unique combination of grace, modesty, passion and energy that does it. She also happens to have quickly become one of my favorite cooking teachers in the city. When I finally made it to one of her classes…”
To say that Patricia Jinich comes from a family passionate about food may be an understatement…
“In my family, cooking is the main thing that everybody talks about,” the Bethesda resident says. As she was growing up, she recalls, “cooking was a big, exciting production — always…Food was the main, happy topic”
Rolled, sauced and oozing with melted cheese, enchiladas could be called the Mexican equivalent of an American burger or an Italian lasagna: a familiar dish that nearly everyone likes to eat.
“En la reunión de redacción previa a la edición del Cinco de Mayo surgió la idea de reunir a un grupo de mexicanos que vivieran en el área y que representaran acción pura, que destacaran en sus trabajos, que reflejaran los valores, las ganas, la rebeldía y la fuerza del inmigrante que se abre camino y alcanza una meta. Surgieron nombres a borbotones. La lista final se consolidó en seis: Ricardo Juarez, activista; Patricia Jinich, chef; Gustavo Velasquez, director de la Oficina de Derechos Humanos en DC…”
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El Tiempo Latino May 1 2009.pdf
“Patricia Jinich teaches regional Mexican cooking at the Mexican Cultural Institute here. But at the Lubavitch Center recently she showed about 70 Jewish women how to cook for Passover.
She made gefilte fish in a Veracruz sauce of tomatoes, pickled peppers, olives and capers, and spoke of how her Polish grandfather loved to wrap fresh, warm tortillas around gribenes (chicken cracklings with fried onions) with a side of guacamole.
Some of the women were in long dresses, with their heads covered. Ms. Jinich, 37, had on a Mexican huipil blouse with red and green trim under her chef’s jacket.
Still, she said, ‘The Yiddische mama and the Mexican mama have lots in common.'”