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Malecón de Mazatlán

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In a Tortilla Race, Corn Trumps Flour

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In a Tortilla Race, Corn Trumps Flour

Sophia Boccard

casa 46 marino

Is it possible to be in three places at the same time? Not for most people, but Marino Maganda Pacheco seems to have a knack for accomplishing many things at once. Not only is he executive chef for Pueblo Bonito Resorts – five of which are located in Cabo San Lucas, and two in Mazatlan – but he’s also curator and executive chef at Casa 46, a popular dining spot in Mazatlan; the lead organizer of the Culinary Roots Festival, an annual gastronomy event focused on promoting Sinaloan cuisine, which had its first convention last year in Mazatlan; and a family man with two kids. Even so, as winner of the Creative Chef of Mexico in 2007 and first place winner of the 2010 Cook of the Year in Mexico, Marino shows no signs of slowing down, even as he joins us for a conversation.

marino maganda

How long have you been cooking for? 
I’ve been cooking for 28 years ago and have worked in all aspects of the kitchen, eventually rising up in the ranks to become executive chef. 

What are some qualities one should have to be a great chef? 
First and foremost – leadership. One cannot run a kitchen without a good leader who can keep everyone on their toes. Creativity is another one. If you can’t be creative in your dishes, then it’ll be very difficult to enhance your culinary style. Consistency and humility are two more qualities that are appropriate qualities for a chef. If you can’t be consistent in your cooking or be humble when your dish doesn’t come out quite the way you wanted it to, then why are you a chef?

marino maganda dish

Tell us what your worst experience as a cook was. 
I was working in Puerto Vallarta one year for Christmas, and when I got to work, it turned out no cook went to work that day. I was all alone in the kitchen having to cook for a hotel that was 100% full. It was a living nightmare. 

If you weren’t a chef, what would you have been? 
A professional soccer player. I wanted to be a soccer player before I even knew that I could cook. 

Close your eyes and pretend you are the executive chef in your dream job. Where are you? 
I’m in Paris and working at the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. I admire his work ethic and think he really hit the nail on the head with his techniques and discipline. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the food is impeccable. 

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Your latest restaurant, Casa 46, just opened late last year. What do you hope to accomplish with the new spot?
There needs to be a new trend in Mazatlan where we risk putting innovative concepts with new gastronomic proposals. Most of our produce comes from within our state (Sinaloa), and there’s so much we can accomplish. We launched the 1st annual Culinary Roots Festival last year in an effort to bring together chefs from Mexico, Spain, Argentina and the United States who are incorporating Sinaloan cuisine into their menus. This year’s event will take place October 27-30, and I hope more people will participate.

We can’t help but ask… in a tortilla fight, who would win – corn or flour?
Corn, obviously!

For more information on Casa 46 visit:

For more information on the Culinary Roots Festival 2016 visit: