Grill the Chef: Pati Jinich

After a career as a political analyst, Pati Jinich launched Mexican Table, an ongoing series of culinary programs about Mexican food, and most recently the cookbook Pati’s Mexican Table. Today, we turn the tables and grill the chef.


What’s in your fridge or freezer that would surprise people?
A pack of frozen banana leaves and homemade tamales. Always.

Last meal you cooked for yourself?
Mexican style eggs (huevos a la Mexicana) and beans from the pot with crumbled queso fresco on top.

Last meal on earth?
Crispy chicken Milanesa, chipotle mashed potatoes and an etra bowl with more chipotles in adobo sauce, pickled chayote salad, garabato cookies and café con leche. Then, more garabato cookies until there were no more, alternating with sips of cold whole milk.

Which six people -alive or dead- would you choose to attend your ultimate dinner party?
There are SO many people I would want to feed and chat with. My three boys and their wives, 20 years from now. Considering that my husband is also helping me throw the dinner party, we will include him too.

What non-food-related things do you do for fun?
Plant and care for my plants, travel, read fiction and embarrass my children and husband.

What’s on your DVR?
I don’t know how to set it!

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
I read about a new train that travels through India, which sounds fascinating. My preferred way of travel is by train and India sounds exotic and fascinating. At the same time, it sounds like I would find culinary wise a lot of similarities with Mexican cooking. I am deeply curious.

What’s your dream destination and why?
The Yucatan Peninsula: Warm, friendly and sweet people, outstanding food, warm and crisp clear ocean water, shady beaches, not much humidity, fascinating history and to die for food and arts and crafts markets.

Where would you send visitors to eat in your city?
My home, if I could host them all.

But here are some restaurants we love visiting: Blue Duck Tavern, Cork, Pearl Dive and Estadio. We take the kids to Two Amys many more times than we care to admit, and they have the most outstanding homemade donuts only on Sundays around lunch time (they run out so fast).  Our boys love Raku for Asian fare, Georgetown Cupcakes and I have heard of many taquerías that just opened recently and some that are about to open that I am dying to explore.