Mexican Chanukah With Chef Julian Medina

Zocalo chef Julian Medina Offers
Mexican Chanukah Menu
Tribute to his Judaism and Mexican Heritage
Monday December 26th - Monday January 3rd

"Isn't Mexican Chanukah a paradox?" one might naturally ask oneself. Quite the contrary ,the history of Judaism in Mexico is a rich and fascinating one, that has given rise to a unique cultural tapestry due to the interaction of the two cultures. Many of the original settlers from Spain were "conversos" or Jewish converts to Christianity during the inquisition. Thanks in part to Mexico's history of tolerance, and the fact that the New World was a destination for much of the Jewish Diaspora, the country is home to a remarkably large and vibrant Jewish population most of whom immigrated between 1800's and 1939. At the turn of the 19th Century there were fewer than 30 Jewish Families in Mexico, but Mexican Emperor Maximilian brought over Jews not only from Germany, but France, Belgium and Alsace for their expertise in much needed professional skills, the culinary arts being among them. In 1867, Mexican leader Benito Juarez overthrew Maximilian and secularized Mexico, seizing church property and banishing the Papal Nuncio. This upheaval paved the way for three waves of mass Jewish immigration, the first of which was sparked in 1882 by the death of the Russian Tsar. The Jewish community in Mexico has swelled from the original 30 families to over 50,000 strong.

Chef Julian Medina (whom David Rosengarten has called, "a genius, a star chef waiting in the wings,") pays tribute to this very multicultural heritage with a unique and innovative Mexican Chanukah menu by calling upon his own cultural fabric - weaving together his talent, Judaism and Mexican heritage. "In lesser hands it might not play, but Chef Medina has a true gift and an intuitive grasp of ingredients and cuisine that put him clearly a cut above," notes Best Selling cookbook author, food writer and chef, Rozanne Gold. Mexican cuisine is the fastest growing ethnic food group in the nation, and Chef Medina - a fast rising culinary star - shows his mettle as he pays tribute to the two cultural traditions with his inspired Mexican Chanukah menu. Zocalo will also introduce onto their menu a number of gourmet cheeses from Israel as part of the Chanukah week specials.

With a tip of the hat to the third wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Chef Medina's Mexican Chanukah menu will feature as an appetizer a Pescado Ahumado y Latkes (House smoked tamarind swordfish salad with caramelized apples, potato latkes and chipotle vinaigrette). Entrees will include; Pan Roasted Halibut with Roasted Golden Beet Puree and Horseradish ~ Jalapeqo Salsa, and a Tacos de Brisket (Chipotle Braised Brisket Tacos with Soft Corn Tortilla, Hass Avocado and Pickled Red Onions). For dessert, the chef offers Pastel de Piloncillo y Miel (Honey and piloncillo bread pudding with crema fresca ice cream).

Mexican Chanukah, Monday December 26th 2005 - Monday, January 3rd 2006

Zocalo Restaurant
174 East 82 Street (Lex - 3rd)
(212) 717-7772
Zocalo at Grand Central
109 East 42nd (lower concourse)
(212) 687-5666


Media contact: Ruskin International, Philip Ruskin, (212) 749-5511