Esquire Middle East

5 dishes that shaped my life

Chef Richard Sandoval has built a reputation for popularizi­ng elevated Mexican cuisine. Here he reveals the simple plates that first inspired him



The global variety of chilies is remarkable. Being a lover of spicy food, I have my favourites, one of which is ají amarillo. I’ve found that due to its fruity flavour and medium level of heat it works perfectly to enhance the flavour of a fresh Peruvian ceviche.


When I was growing up my father ran a restaurant in Acapulco. After I left culinary school, this was the first recipe that I learned to make and served it there. I now insist that it is served in all of my restaurant­s across the globe.


I’ve made (and eaten!) a lot of tacos in my time. When it comes to tacos, this is one of my favourites. I love the balance of flavours; the spiciness of the adobo pork; the sweetness of the pineapple; and rounded off with the acidity of lemon.


It probably comes as little surprise that I love entertaini­ng, and when

I do one of my go-to dishes to serve is this shrimp enchiladas. They are always a crowd pleaser because they’re both recognizab­le and comforting. The shrimp and crab have delicate flavours that elevate the dish.


I like to call Huitlacoch­e the Mexican truffle because the flavour is truly unique and somewhat earthy like French and Italian truffles. During the rainy season, these “corn mushrooms” grow naturally on the kernels and wonderfull­y builds a complex flavour into the risotto.

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