Norma Listman is a Mexico City and Oakland-based chef and artist. Her practice is shaped by her heritage, and she is most interested in traditional cooking methods and the historical periods of Mexican gastronomy. Norma’s passion for the preservation of her culture and her father’s life-long work with maize have ignited her interest for working with native varieties of the crop. She began her career in some of the most prestigious restaurants of the Bay Area, managing the nationally acclaimed Camino Restaurant and long-time Bay Area institution BayWolf Restaurant in Oakland, before deciding to follow her passion and become a professional chef. As a food scholar she teaches Mexican culinary techniques at 18 Reasons in San Francisco. She currently lives in Mexico City and is focused on her research on Mexican native corn and nixtamalization. In this episode, Norma talks with Chelsea about preserving traditional corn varieties in a changing cultural and economic landscape, and the meztizaje of food traditions in Mexico and California.
Since moving to Mexico City in 2007, Niki Nakazawa has navigated between the art, architecture, music and food worlds. After several years working as managing editor at art and architecture publishing houses, she founded the experimental pop-up restaurant and catering company Pichón with Emma Rosenbush and Kenny Curran. Pichón is a pop-up restaurant and a project dedicated to culinary research and experimentation. It is inspired by the chinampas of Mexico City, the culinary traditions of the Mexican countryside, and the gastronomic revolution that has transformed food culture. They believe that the best food is prepared with ingredients grown locally and sustainably, and that food should be a vehicle for strengthening community, from its cultivation to consumption. Chelsea talks to Nikki about chinampas, the island-gardens of the Mexican highlands, about what it means to eat local in Mexico City, about cooking as an exploration, and about her recent culinary residency in coastal Oaxaca.