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Eduardo García’s path to a culinary career is a suspenseful story. Born in Mexico, he migrated to the United States with his family at nine years old. Just five years later, he began working with Chef Eric Ripert at Brasserie Le Coze—a tale not many fourteen-year-old kids understand. After being deported back to Mexico at 22-years-old, he returned to the U.S. and wound up being the executive chef Van Gogh in Atlanta.
Years later, he returned to Mexico—a country he had to re-learn—to work under Enrique Olvera at Pujol. The story may seem like ping-pong match between the two countries, but it’s what ultimately shaped García as a coveted chef and business owner of three successful restaurants in the city—Maximo Bistrot, Havre 77, and Lalo!.
García spoke with Whitewaller about his journey to the kitchen and Maximo Bistrot’s upcoming move.
WHITEWALLER: Tell us a bit about your early experience working in the kitchen. Notably, you worked with Ripert—an amazing start at such a young age.
EDUARDO GARCIA: I’ve worked since I was five years old. At the age of nine, my family and I moved to the U.S. When I turned 14, I started to work with chef Ripert at Brasserie Le Coze. This experience changed my life, all these years are the foundations of the person I’m right now. All the love of the cuisine and service.
EG: Returning to Mexico was a hard experience for me. I didn’t know the country and I was all by myself. Chef Enrique opened the doors of Pujol [to me]. It was an incredible experience. I was learning and knowing Mexico, the ingredients and the flavors. That was really exciting, returning to my roots.
WW: In 2011, you opened Maximo Bistrot with your wife, Gabriela López. Tell us a bit about the restaurant, and what type of cuisine and ambience is found there.
EG: We started Maximo with a low budget, and a big dream that came true with a lot of work. Maximo it’s a small bistro with balanced flavors and seasonal and sustainable products. It’s a very casual ambiance, where plates are a family style dinning and the menu changes every day.
WW: Last year, you released your first book, Maximo, which includes recipes and stories from the 8 years at the restaurant. Tell us a bit about some highlights in the book.
EG: We are going to move Máximo Bistrot to another place. I realized that an important cycle was coming to the end, and my book is a tribute to Maximo’s first stage—to the place that housed me and to the people who made it all possible. You’ll find some recipes of important dishes in the history of the restaurant.
WW: You also own Havre 77 and Lalo!. Tell us a bit about those establishments.
EG: In 2014, we opened our second restaurant Lalo! with a relaxed and informal ambience, where you will find spectacular breakfasts By the end of 2015, we opened our third restaurant, Havre 77, a French brasserie and oyster bar.
WW: When you’re not in the kitchen, where do you like to spend your time in CDMX?
EG: I love the field. Any place in Mexico where there is nature and pleasant spaces.
WW: What are you working on next?
EG: We are moving Maximo to a new location to have more space, so we can create more jobs, and so it will be more comfortable for our employees.