The Mexican Dish Rick Martinez Wants To Share With The World - Exclusive

Rick Martinez is many things. He's a chef, a writer, James Beard nominee, and a food world media personality (via James Beard Foundation). He's proud to be a Texan, to be gay, and to have Mexican ancestry. When you talk to him for long enough, you'll start to see how all the many facets of his life weave together. His favorite foods are inspired by his heritage, for example, and he is passionate about the dishes that define Mexican cuisine. 

During an exclusive interview with Mashed, we asked what dish Martinez wished everyone on earth could try. He quickly replied: "I think it would be definitely a mole because I think a lot of people misunderstand it or they've tasted something that is not necessarily the best [example]. I think a lot of people think that it's a sweet sauce. It doesn't have to be. Sometimes it's a spicy sauce. Sometimes it's a really nice balance of nuts and chilies and seeds and either a fish stock or chicken stock. Sometimes there's not even chocolate in it. And so I think that tasting a really, really good mole, I think will introduce people to what Mexican cuisine really is."

What exactly is mole? "I think at its very base level, it is a sauce that is flavored with chilies," Martinez said. "There are usually other flavors, other dried spices, nuts, and seeds, but the primary flavoring comes from the chilies."

Mexican cooking is not homogenous

Though a great mole dish is an example of the authentic Mexican cuisine Rick Martinez loves so much, he clarified that Mexican cooking is anything but homogenous. 

"I think that, because of the prevalence of brands like Taco Bell and Taco Cabana and [all]," Martinez said, "I think those become the standard for what Americans think of as Mexican food. And the reality is that there's so much coastline. There's so much biodiversity. There's so many different geographies and climates within Mexico. There are so many different things, even me, I've been going to Mexico for 20 years. And when I was researching my book ["Mi Cocina"], there were things that I didn't know that existed, dishes that I'd never tasted before." 

"And so I really want to expand the palette. I know people in the U.S. love Mexican food, what they know of it," Martinez explained. "And so this [book] is my way of giving back to the cuisine and expanding the understanding of what Mexican food is ... because a lot of people also think that it can be very heavy [but] the reality is that Europeans, mainly Spanish, brought in pigs and cows and dairy and cheese. And so before that, it was a very vegetable-forward cuisine — nuts, fruits, berries, fish. And so it can be very healthy, but the reality is, it's very diverse. And I want to present that to people."

Keep an eye out for Rick Martinez's upcoming cookbook "Mi Cocina," follow him on Instagram for cooking tips and recipes, and check out his partnership with Campo Viejo.