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Ixta Belfrage | Talented London chef & Tacos lover

Ixta Belfrage | Talented London chef & Tacos lover

Posted by Escape and co. | 13th February 2017 | Portraits

Ixta has been one of these great encounters of 2016. We have collaborated on one of our events and I’ve been lucky to taste her delicious, colourful and creative food. Her cuisine is all about mixing food heritages (Italy, Mexico), generosity, tasty ingredients, no fuss.

 

– “I live for tacos.”

COULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO IN A FEW WORDS?

I’m a chef, working primarily as a recipe developer for Ottolenghi, and as a private chef at events and for charities in my spare time.

ANY INTERESTING ONGOING OR UPCOMING PROJECTS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

In the next few months I will be collaborating with my dear friend and fellow chef Claudia Lazarus, who I met whilst I was working as a chef de partie at NOPI, London. We’re planning a thoughtfully curated supper club that celebrates ingredients and aesthetics.

WHERE DO YOU TAKE YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?

I take inspiration from my childhood years spent in Tuscany. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by some of the best food and wine of the region – that’s where my passion for food began. My oldest friend’s Grandfather was in my eyes, the best chef and pasta maker in the whole world. To this day I haven’t eaten ravioli or lasagne that beats his!
I also take inspiration from my mother’s very mixed heritage, she’s Brasilian but grew up in Cuba via Mexico, so Latin and South American food has been a part of my life from the very beginning.

WHAT DISHES HAVE YOU CREATED THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?

I recently did a recipe shoot with food photographer Charlie Mckay and stylist Jess Murphy of Salutations Studio. I created two dishes for them which really represent both the way I like to cook and the food I like to eat. The first dish was a Red Snapper crudo with macerated grapes, pickled saltbush (from my Mother’s garden), caraway oil, walnuts and citrus zest. The second was a fish soup made from the snapper’s head and bones, served with grilled sourdough and anchovy aioli. I’m quite proud of my fish soup – I’d say it’s my best dish.

Ixta Belfrage

© salutations_studio © charliemckay


Ixta Belfrage

© salutations_studio © charliemckay

WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT/ CHEF?

That’s a really hard question, but my most memorable meal of 2016 was at P. Franco in Hackney.
P. Franco is a wonderful natural wine shop by day which serves food Thursday-Sunday evenings. I had a stand out meal there with highlights of roe deer tartare and spider crab congee. The chef responsible for these wonders, Tim Spedding (ex Ledbury and Clove Club), worked his magic with little to no prep space and just one hot plate – seriously impressive stuff. Unfortunately he’s no longer at P. Franco but I’ve heard on the grapevine that someone really exciting is taking his place (but not filling his shoes).

WHAT IS THE BEST TRIP YOU HAVE DONE AND WHY?

My most memorable recent trip was to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. I’m named after a Mexican volcano, near where my grandparents lived for 35 years and some of my most treasured culinary memories are of spending time in my Grandmother’s Mexican kitchen. I travelled by myself this time, which was sometimes lonely but mostly liberating. It meant I could follow my nose and stomach whenever and wherever I wanted – specifically (and repeatedly) to Antojitos La Chiapaneca in Tulum for the best tacos of my life – I live for tacos.

Follow Ixta on Instagram!

Photographs from food photographer Charlie Mckay (www.charliemckay.com) and stylist Jess Murphy (www.salutations.studio)

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