At her Mexico City restaurant called "Izote", celebrated chef Patricia Quintana pays homage to the best of classic Mexican cooking. The surroundings are simple, the style is minimalistic. As I recall, there are no more than 20 tables. The menu is an eclectic combination of modern versions of pre-Hispanic dishes. It draws heavily on Mexican indigenous ingredients such as yucca flower, cactus, and corn flour.
In 2005, I had dinner at "Izote" with some friends. "Izote" is the name of the beautiful white flower that adorns the yucca plant. My job - Vice President for Human Capital - had just been eliminated due to a downsizing at the multinational corporation where I had worked for the preceding 10 years. I was in the process of deciding to found my own management consulting company, focused on the development of international human capital, rather than to seek a new position working for someone else.
Each dish at "Izote" is a delight. I finished my lamb barbecued in a banana leaf. One of my friends, familiar with Patricia Quintana's wizardry, suggested that I leave room for a " Tarta Zaachila", a chocolate pastry filled with nuts, accompanied by the traditional "café de olla", coffee flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar. As we waited for dessert, I am sure that my job-elimination anxiety had become apparent. This prompted one of my friends to share a story. Mexicans are great story-tellers. This story affected me more deeply than I expected.