Gabriela Cámara, Chef, Restaurateur and Author
Gabriela Cámara’s first cookbook, “My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions,” shares authentic and approachable Mexican recipes for home cooks to master. Having grown up in Mexico, her seafood-centric dishes call upon a lifelong love and fascination of fresh tortillas, local ingredients and home cooking. Gabriela set out to open Mexico City’s infamous Contramar twenty years ago, followed by San Francisco’s Cala and her first Southern California venture, Onda, coming this fall. Following a robust career creating some of the most sought after dishes in the world, we were thrilled to hear how this busy chef unwinds after a long day, her favorite midnight snack (recipes included!) and what she has planned next...
Are the flavors of your food a reflection of your own personal taste (zing!)? Tell us about your home decor…
Yes! I like my food to be bright, fresh, exciting and contrasting. I'm always experimenting with flavors and using the best ingredients – resulting in flavorful combinations. My home decor style is similar and filled with things I love. There is plenty of art, plants, bright pops of color paired with thoughtful design. Like my food, I really appreciate the comfort of beautiful and natural materials – or ingredients.
How do you unwind once you are home? Where is home currently?
I unwind by reading on my favorite long chair in my room but home is where my son Lucas is. Currently we are in the process of moving from San Francisco back to Mexico City, where we have always kept a place. Now we’ll keep a place in San Francisco but will spend most of our time in Mexico City.
You are a chef, owner of restaurants in two countries and an author! What is your favorite meal to make after a long day?
Pasta and salad!
“My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions,” shares authentic, Mexican recipes for home cooks to master. What about home cooking is special to you?
That it is meant for the most important people. It is personal and not pretentious, and the purpose of it is nourishing and pleasing to the ones we love the most.
Bedside tables reveal a lot about a person...what’s on yours?
Stacks of books.
When you can’t sleep you…
I read. Or work on my computer – emails never sleep!
The best place to grab coffee in Mexico City is…
Dream breakfast in bed?
Any breakfast in bed is a dream.
You grew up in Mexico and have started restaurants in Mexico City, San Francisco and soon L.A. Where is your favorite place to wake up around the world?
On the beach, after a night accompanied by the sound of waves crashing in the background.
We’re thrilled to welcome your newest restaurant Onda to L.A. this fall. What drew you to collaborate with Jessica Koslow? Why Santa Monica?
Thank you! Jessica [Koslow of Sqirl] and I have been excited to something together since we first met. When the Proper Hotel offered the restaurant of their new location in Santa Monica to Jessica, she invited me to do it with her. It is a very special and beautiful location and it made sense to make something mexican/angelino by the beach.
Which recipe from “My Mexico City Kitchen” should we make to impress summer dinner guests?
The fideo costeño with fresh seafood.
After Onda, you’re moving back to Mexico City to serve as an adviser to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. What makes you most excited about coming home?
It’s still not clear what my role will be, but what makes me most excited about coming home is to be able to spend more time with my family.
True or false: Everything can be a taco.