Slideshow: Gilberto Cetina’s Mayan Tasting Dinner

Jicama and mango salad

Chichen Itza concluded its two-night celebration of Mayan ingredients and recipes on Friday night with the last of two dinners prepared by chef Gilberto Cetina, whose Yucatan recipes often allude to Mayan influence. For the dinner, Cetina introduced chaya, a spinach-like vegetable, and the bean espelon, while dressing up entrees of wild boar and venison, and riffing on preparations of pibil and pipian, tamales and empanadas. We wonder if neighbor Mo-Chica, with its fine-dining aesthetics, indigenous nods, and low-prices, were an influence on Cetina’s Mayan mash-up, or whether he was experimenting with a new restaurant concept. We were impressed with Cetina’s vision, but agree with Javier Cabral’s criticism at Radio Room that ambition often dominated actual flavor. Nonetheless, chef Cetina’s honoring of Mayan cooking is important to our city’s cultural identity and we hope it finds the right place to resurface again. Take a look at what Chichen Itza served in our slideshow.