My name is Armando Cajero. I am a chef and the owner of the NA’AN seasonal cuisine restaurant in San Andrés Cholula, in the State of Puebla, Mexico.
To tell the truth, I could never have imagined devoting myself fully to food and cooking. From an early age, however, I had a hearty appetite, and my best childhood memories revolve around the kitchens of my aunt and grandmother. I still consider these women to be the best cooks that I have ever met. I studied physiotherapy but I realized that it was better to quit and move into the kitchen, gaining first-hand experience as an apprentice chef.
I work directly with producers, craftsmen, and farmers, because it is important for me to enhance and raise awareness about local and sustainable consumption. That is the reason why I joined the Slow Food movement and the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance, as one of the 39 members in Mexico.
The insects add a distinctive sour flavor,I but if the ants are not available in your region, the dish is tasty even without them.
If not available, use smoked salt and hot chilli pepper.
– 550 ml of mandarin juice
– 2 sheets of gelatin
– 110 ml of water
– 30g of honey (or 20g of invert sugar / trimoline)
– 55 g of sugar
In a large pot, mix honey, sugar, water and gelatine leaves. Bring to the boil. Add the mandarin juice and stir well.
Take the mixture off the heat, allow it to cool, then put it in the ice cream machine.
Meringue with Tlaola serrano chili pepper
120 g of egg white
30 g of sugar
5 g of chilli powder
Whip the egg whites, adding sugar little by little. Add the chilli powder. Shape the meringues, then dry them in the oven for 1-2 hours at 70 °C.
Green tomato jam
150 g of green tomatoes
100 g of sugar
20 ml of water
Cook the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
40 g of chicatana ants
10 g of Tlaola pepper
Toast ants in a pan with some pepper.
Serve tomato jam on a plate, topped with a scoop of mandarin sorbet, and sprinkle with chilli powder and ants. Add the smoked salt, top with the meringue, and complete with another sprinkle of ants and chilli pepper.