“The respect for local purveyors offering ingredients of the highest quality possible is the pillar of my philosophy,” explained Chef Olivier Deboise Mendez of the J&G Grill housed in the St. Regis Mexico City. In an interview, we discussed the history of the restaurant, his philosophy towards cuisine, inspiration, creativity and discipline, and much more.
Tell me a little bit about the history of J&G Grill.
Introduced in May 2012, J&G Grill presents contemporary American cuisine with the highest quality and freshness in meat and seafood, in a carte du jour inspired by the great success of the acclaimed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his bold use of ingredients. I have led the restaurant since August 2015, aiming to provide seasonal menus and dishes that continue to delight and surprise the tastes of local diners and the international gourmet community.
How you would describe your own philosophy or approach to cuisine?
The respect for local purveyors offering ingredients of the highest quality possible is the pillar of my philosophy. My goal is to captivate diners with original dishes, complete with unique flavors, prepared with the best locally-sourced ingredients in season. Additionally, I love to craft beautiful dishes, appealing to the eye and with a wow-factor on the plate.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My Franco-Mexican spirit is drawn from my travels and experiences throughout the world, which shines through in my gastronomic creations.
How do you maintain the level of discipline and creativity necessary to sustain excellence in fine-dining?
I am able to maintain the level of discipline and creativity due to my culinary experience in France, including 9 years at some prestigious kitchens. This includes L’Étrier at the Royal Barriere hotel in Deauville alongside Chef Eric Provost and Le Candille at the Le Mas Candille hotel in Mougins with Chef Serge Gouloumès, both Michelin-starred restaurants. And after the 9 years in Europe, I returned to Mexico to work with Jerry Cendejas and Jorge Martinez at Anita Li, a top restaurant in Guadalajara’s new culinary world and I was also was at the Relais & Châteaux’s property Imanta Resort in Punta Mita.
To maintain creativity, I pride myself on marrying ingredients you might not think would have gotten along, but together they create a beautifully balanced dish and make a statement.
How does an idea for a new dish get from your mind to the plate?
All of my dishes originate in finding the highest quality ingredients, in their prime season, including the right balance of protein, fat, vegetables and carbohydrates. After understanding the ingredients I’ve chosen, I create the dish and develop the product through trial and error.
What are some of your favorite dishes and drinks on the menu?
Currently some of my favorite dishes on the menu are the Wagyu Beef from Durango, with black garlic alioli, confitated leeks and mustard leaves. I also love my interpretation of aguachile, “Hiramasa aguachile” with kalamata olives and tomato-clam juice sorbet. For cocktails, you can’t go wrong with our signature Ginger Margarita.
Is there such a thing as the perfect dish?
Even if I don’t believe in perfection, a great dish has excellent flavor, a beautiful design, quality ingredients, nutritional balance, and appeal to human senses, including: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.