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Malecón de Mazatlán

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#1 Boutique Hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico

Next Time Use Sugar, Not Salt

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Next Time Use Sugar, Not Salt

Sophia Boccard

sugar not salt

The world of gastronomy has long been a predominantly male-dominated industry, especially when it comes to Top Chefs. Very few women have broken boundaries and thrived in the field, especially women from Mexico. However, Patricia Quintana has done just that and much more in the 45+ years she’s reigned the cooking world. She has ruled gastronomy – specifically when it comes to Mexican cuisine – with her cookbooks, countless recipes, her own Gavilla brand, and her knack for discovering the history of pre-Spanish colonized Mexican dishes by visiting indigenous villages throughout the various regions of Mexico. A legend in her own right, Patricia wasn’t always the “Queen of Mexican Cooking,” but had to break down barriers to get where she is today. 

patricia quintana

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

My story in the kitchen began with my great-grandmother. She and the murmurs of the kitchen – including the gurgling of pots, the grinding of corn, the straining of metate (or mealing stone), the crackling of logs and the rhythmic clapping of hands preparing tortillas – stimulated my passion for Mexican food and cuisine.

Where did you train, and was it difficult?

I trained in many places, such as Canada, Switzerland and France, with Master Chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Lenõtre, Chapel, the Troisgros brothers and Michel Guérard, and I rotated abroad with chefs such as Mark Miller, John Sedlar, Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing, Jean Georges Von Richten and Daniel Bouloud. When I found myself in Elonot, France, it was difficult being a woman when men dominated in the profession. I wasn’t allowed to touch the ingredients, and I could only pass them along. I took advantage of the opportunity by memorizing and learning the recipes instead.

Atun Sellado

Atun Sellado


Tell us your favorite dish to prepare.

Probably the most elaborate of all my recipes and dishes, I enjoy enhancing on the mole negro. It calls for such a delicate balance with the combination of all the different species of chiles and the way you must prepare them.

So, are the different kinds of chiles your favorite ingredients to use in a dish?

Yes! The chile is such an incredible ingredient. For example, in the state of Oaxaca, there are more than 25 different species of the fabulous ingredient, and in the country there are more than 64 varieties that are used in up to 70% of the dishes that reach our tables. And that’s only what we know of.

Are there any difficulties when using chiles in your dishes?

Chiles, if not prepared correctly, can lose their flavor and overwhelm the dish. 

Ceviche de la Casa

Ceviche de la Casa


What has been your proudest accomplishment at this point?

I’m proud of my cookbooks, because I’ve attempted to capture a little bit of the greatness Mexican gastronomy offers by conducting an extensive investigation of the region that each recipe derives from. However, I think my proudest accomplishment without doubt has been representing Mexico in places around the world such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain, U.S.A., London and more.  

If you did not become a chef, what would you have liked to have become?

I would’ve liked to have been a ballerina or a painter.

Would you say there are many aspects of painting and performing that imitate cooking?

Yes! There are. Similar to ballet, delicate movements are required when preparing dishes, and curating dishes in a certain style mirrors painting.

patricia quintana

We had the pleasure of having you take up a residence here at Lucila’s Restaurant, located at Casa Lucila Hotel Boutique. What was the reason for choosing Mazatlan?

I wanted to promote the Sinaloan cuisine and create new dishes for the people of Mazatlan and those coming from outside the city limits. Lucila’s Restaurant was the perfect spot to be for my four-month residence.

Do you have some favorite dishes currently being offered on the menu at Lucila’s Restaurant?

Of course! My three top favorite dishes are the Surimi Tostadas, Ceviche de la Casa and the Grilled Fish.  

Ok, last but not least, we must know: What was your worst cooking experience?

I once put salt instead of sugar when I was making a cake – Let’s just say it did not come out the way I expected!