This piece on Chef Dany is the first in our series The Saints of Todos Santos, which focuses on those residents of Todos Santos (All Saints) who help give the town its most magical, mystical and memorable qualities – and whom you’d be most likely to meet on one of your adventures with us.
Chef Dany Lamote moved to Todos Santos from Canada, where he had been very much involved in the slow food movement, a practitioner of “think global, eat local”. When he was operating the Latin-fusion restaurant Mescalero in Calgary, this philosophy put such eclectic fare as elk burritos and salmon ceviche on the menu. Now that he is living between two oceans here in Todos Santos, Dany’s eat-local focus brings out fabulous seafood dishes, complemented by a wonderful variety of fruit. “Here in Todos Santos we have fresh, tree-ripened star fruit, tree-ripened mangos and lichees, and vine-ripened passion fruit. There simply is no equivalent in Canada. These fresh-off-the-plant fruits are great for making salsas for the fish, and of course we also use them to make drinks, margaritas and desserts.”
Dany moved to Todos Santos in 2002 as the Executive Chef of the Hotel California, a job which he still holds. He also has his own restaurant now – Santo Vino – which is dedicated to showcasing food and drink produced in Baja. “Baja’s wine country in Valle de Guadalupe is in full swing now, it is very dynamic. Most of the people making wine in Baja are very small producers, and we showcase a lot of these wines here at Santo Vino.” Having Dany pair Baja wines with his Baja dishes is one of the great joys of a meal at Santo Vino. Dany also features Baja-brewed beer!
In the cooking classes that he runs as part of Todos Santos Eco Adventures’ Cooking Adventures Week in Todos Santos, Dany focuses on sharing what he has learned through almost a decade of deep immersion in Mexican food culture. “When people come to my cooking class in Todos Santos I try to give them the opportunity to work with ingredients they’ve never used before – or maybe never even heard of before. I want them to leave with the satisfaction that they’ve gained a much deeper understanding of the culture than they ever could have gained from eating in restaurants only.”
Dany is a graduate of the CERIA Culinary Institute in Brussels, Belgium. He immigrated to Canada in 1979 where he eventually settled in Calgary. He was a partner in many successful restaurants and an inventive influence in the movement that put Calgary on the international culinary stage during the 1988 Winter Olympics. After moving to Todos Santos in 2002 Dany published the colorful The Hotel California Tequila Cookbook which reflects his love of discovering a beautiful new place to live.
© Copyright Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Casa Payaso S de RL de CV, 2011