Enrique Olvera ’99 is an internationally renowned chef and owner of Grupo Enrique Olvera.
His restaurants in Mexico include the award winning Pujol, Molino El
Pujol, and five Eno gourmet coffee
shops in Mexico City; Manta at The Cape Hotel in Cabo San Lucas; Criollo in Oaxaca City; Moxi at Hotel Matilda in San
Miguel de Allende; and, in New York City, Cosme and Alta. Cosme is named after a market in Mexico
City where Olvera’s grandfather took him as a young boy. Teo-Taller Enrique Olvera is he research and development hub for Grupo Enrique Olvera, providing training and education, and consulting services.
Olvera was born in Mexico City. He moved to the United States to enroll at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, graduating with an associate degree in 1997. He went on to earn his CIA bachelor’s degree
in 1999. During his studies, Olvera earned various awards, including a
gold medal from the New York Société Culinaire Philanthropique and the
Jacob Rosenthal Leadership Award from the college.
After graduation, he got his first job at Everest, one of Chicago’s most
exclusive restaurants. In 2000, armed with classical training and haute cuisine
experience, Olvera returned to Mexico City to open his own restaurant, Pujol, a
slurring of pozole, his nickname in school. There, he embarked on
an exploration of Mexico’s culinary riches—reinterpreting and re-articulating
its flavors, styles, and techniques from the perspective of contemporary
cooking. “Pujol is how I picture Mexico City, and how I want people to
experience Mexico,” Olvera explains. “It’s not nostalgic, it’s a little bit
loud, a little bit of a mess, and very Mexican.” He is respected by fellow
chefs worldwide for his creations. As Ferran Adrià says, “There was Mexican
food before Enrique Olvera, and Mexican food after Enrique Olvera.”
Pujol is ranked #12 on the 2019 S.Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurant
list and number nine on the 2018 list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Cosme is #23 on the 2019 S.Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurant list, the highest ranking for any American restaurant. Olvera was named the 2015 International Chef of the Year by The Daily Meal and
received The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award for Latin
America. He has earned a well-deserved accolade from his fellow elite
professionals across the region—the Chefs’ Choice Award, voted for by the chefs
of the S.Pellegrino Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Pujol now proudly
serves as an approved internship site for current CIA students, so Olvera can
pass on lessons he learned to future graduates of the college.
Olvera has published four books: La Nueva Cocina Mexicana in 2000; Diez Anos Pujol, a volume that recounts the history and philosophy behind his first ten years of the restaurant released in 2010; and En La Milpa released in 2011. His first English-language cookbook, entitled Mexico From the Inside Out with photography by Araceli Paz, which traces the life of Pujol, was published by Phaidon on October 19, 2015. His latest book, Tu Casa Mi Casa, was written in conjunction with Peter Meehan, Daniela Soto-Innes, Gonzalo Gout, and Luis Arellano and released in 2018. The recipes were inspired by Mexican home cooking.
In 2012, Olvera, along with the Colectivo Mexicano de Cocina A.C., launched
Mesamérica, a three-day conference to promote Mexican gastronomy outside of
Mexico and bring the country into the global culinary conversations taking place today. “With
Mesamérica, efforts, funds, and contacts could be combined under one roof and
strengthen Mexico’s hospitality industry,” Olvera explains.
featured in the second season of Chef’s Table, the critically
acclaimed show created by filmmaker David Gelb. A frequent conference
guest and lecturer, Olvera has appeared at the MAD symposium in Copenhagen and
Denmark, and Gastronomika in San Sebastian, Spain and has contributed to several
Latin Flavors, American Kitchen conferences at The Culinary Institute of
America, San Antonio. On April 20, 2016, at the 18th annual Worlds of Flavor®
conference, Olvera was the keynote speaker, presenting The Voice of
the Chef: Developing a Personal Philosophy Through Heritage and Training.