#FOODMISSION​ 2023 – Jorge Ildefonso, La Mata, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico

La Mata focuses on using Yucatan’s best produce to give its guests incredible culinary experiences. The Chef, Jorge Ildefonso, deeply cares about the cozy and welcoming ambiance as well as authenticity and sustainability. The dishes will make you fall in love with Yucatecan’s culture and traditions.

The Best Chef: Why did you choose to work with food?

Jorge Ildefonso: I like what I do. I love sharing and learning. Those are really important things for me. It is the core of my job – sharing with people, and communities, learning from them, exploring traditional kitchens.

The Best Chef: You like playing with Japanese ingredients and techniques, right?

Jorge Ildefonso: Yes, this dish, for example, is a koshu, originally from yusukoshu, which is a Japanese product.

The Best Chef: How did your adventure with gastronomy start?

Jorge Ildefonso: My first job was washing dishes and I liked it. But I found myself wanting more and I started learning day by day until now, when I’m here, in La Mata. Everything was a new experience, creating things, researching, especially researching in communities, in places like this… It was curiosity that inspired me to make my own dishes.

I am from Guadalajara and in Guadalajara, but I also feel Yucatecan. It is in my heart. I love this culture.

The Best Chef: What is your goal?

Jorge Ildefonso: Do you truly enjoy what you do in life? For me, it is the biggest goal. To enjoy it more every day. Sometimes it is not easy because of the amount of work. But I think that’s my biggest goal – being able to enjoy what I do.

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