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Interview with Enrique Olvera of Best New Restaurant Nominee Cosme

Alyssa Haak

April 20, 2015

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Chef Chef Enrique Olvera of Cosme

At Cosme, located in New York City's Flatiron neighborhood, chef Enrique Olvera fuses Mexican and local ingredients, creating dishes that feel at once credible and novel. We spoke with Olvera about the past, present, and future of this Best New Restaurant nominee.

JBF: It’s been a huge year for Cosme. What’s your vision for the restaurant in the coming year?

EO: We are trying to get better every day and make customers and our staff happy. We want to earn the trust of our community and be active in our role.

  

JBF: Cosme is named after a Mexico City market you went with your grandfather. Why did you name the restaurant after that market? What was so memorable about those trips?

EO: I’ve always liked the name, so much that I even (unsuccessfully) tried to name one of my sons after it. At San Cosme I had some of my first food-related memories. When we were looking at names for our restaurant in New York, it came up, and we liked it because of its meaning (In Greek, the meaning of the name cosme is: from ‘kosmos’ meaning order. People with this name have a deep inner desire to inspire others in a higher cause.)

Cosme, a 2015 Best New Restaurant nominee

JBF: Your bio says that your family, which is also involved in food service, tried to talk you out of the food industry. What’s their opinion now?

EO: My grandparents owned a bakery and struggled to put my father through college, so evidently it was a shock for him early on. But he was very supportive from the start (and obviously now).

JBF: We read that you and Andoni Luis Aduriz, of Mugaritz in San Sebasitián, Spain, are planning to open a restaurant in Havana. Can you talk about what the concept is? What attracted you to working in Cuba?

EO: Andoni and I have known each other for a few years. I have always been inspired by his work. At this point of my career I am more interested in sharing ideas and having fun; collaborating with Andoni on a fun project in Cuba is definitely aligned with those interests.

The bar at Cosme

JBF: Do you plan on attending the Awards in Chicago? If so, where do you plan on dining while you’re there?

EO: Indeed. I love Chicago, so it is a perfect opportunity to go back. I will go and say hi to Priscila [Satkoff, chef,] at Salpicon. Avec is on our list, and so are Big Star and Xoco.

Alyssa Haak is a freelance writer in New York City.