The Chef Making Mexican Gastronomy Shine Abroad

The Chef Making Mexican Gastronomy Shine Abroad

July 31, 2018
By LocalAventura

Our Local Guide Graciela shines in the kitchen, on screen and really anywhere she goes. Her love for Mexican gastronomy, culture, and its people are just some of the reasons why her Mexico City Food Tour is a must for anyone visiting her hometown. Get to know the real Graciela Montaño and how she became the chef she is today.




Unveiling her passion for Mexico and its food


Do you have a favorite memory from a tour?

For me, all tours are special in their own way, but I do have a list with my top ten experiences and memories so far:

  1. A Mexican living abroad that dreamt of her mother’s enchiladas, so she took the class to recreate that memory and share it with her family. I will always remember the way she smiled after taking the first bite.
  2. An older Indian woman was traveling by herself, fulfilling her dream of learning about Mexican gastronomy and visiting Mexican markets.
  3. A Latin American consul living in Mexico, cooking tacos and learning how to make tortillas while singing his favorite songs.
  4. A Brazilian family that, while in having the tasting, remembered a beloved family member that had recently passed away. We all ended up singing with passion and sentiment her favorite song. Must say it was one of the most special moments.
  5. A famous writer from the Netherlands with her husband singing “La Cumbia de Mole” while cooking and cleaning chiles as natives do.
  6. An Asian fashion expert and blogger mastering the mole recipe, only to invite her husband to a cooking class the day after.
  7. A father that traveled with his adopted Mexican daughter and celebrated her quinceañera by taking a cooking class so she could reconnect with her Mexican roots.
  8. A Colombian couple that, as soon as they entered my kitchen, cooked with me as if we were longtime friends. Now, we really are friends.
  9. Being the first activity in their first trip to Mexico City or the last one (saving the best for last).
  10. Lastly, during these last 9 years, all women and men searching for inspiration and going back home with new additions to their food truck menus, weekly family menus or even the needed inspiration to finally open an art gallery.


Is there something that makes your tours special for travelers?

Apart from teaching delicious recipes, I think it’s all about living the experience of México’s hospitality, about service and taking care of details. My kitchen is a special space for you to give it a try, learn something new and cook with your heart. My goal is for you to feel you are cooking at a friend’s house.




What’s your favorite dish to teach during cooking classes?

Really all the dishes… I love to cook and to share what I know. My greatest reward is when they tell me or send me the pictures of their creations back home. Spreading the love for Mexican food, our traditions and heritage give my life a meaningful purpose.


What do you like the most about being a chef on TV and also being a local guide (respectively)?

Being a local guide allows me to share and live Mexican gastronomy with a true sense of hospitality. Meeting people from all around the globe gives me the opportunity to see my world from another perspective. Being a TV host allows me to share my passion for Mexico and its gastronomy in each and every episode.


Tell me what growing up in Mexico was like

I remember being little and having my grandma pick me up from school; she took me to the market to pick up the ingredients we would later cook with. That is why I love markets and food so much. My mother always organized great family reunions and my father loved to eat street food, from quesadillas to tamales, tacos and “panza”. My sister and I were lucky to be exposed to all kinds of food from fancy restaurants to a street stand selling “tortas”.


Which place in Mexico City do you think is underrated and more people should know about? Why?

Pablo Neruda, once consul of Mexico, said that if you really want to understand the life of a country you need to understand the life of a market. For me, markets are an open window to real Mexico.


What travel tip do you have for people visiting Mexico City?

Try to set some time apart to unwind and learn something new without the urgency or pressure of visiting all of the city’s sights. Take time to understand the culture, the way we eat, the ingredients and of course take a cooking experience with us.




Lightning round:

Favorite Latin American country other than Mexico:

That´s a tough one, I need to make more #LocalAventuras.

Favorite cuisine from Mexico:

I can’t pick! Each one has a unique space in my heart.

Favorite dish from Mexico:

Right now: Mole!

One word to represent the essence of your country:


Favorite Latin American wine:

Casa Grande Gran Reserva Shiraz of Casa Madero in Valle de Parras, Coahuila, México.

Place in Latin America you’ve always wanted to visit:


Languages you speak:

English and Spanish

A traveler has 24-hours in Mexico City, what should they do?

Start with a Culinary Market Tour, eat some tacos, take a cooking class, visit an exhibition in any of our top museums, attend a show by the Mexican Folkloric Ballet and finish the day within a dining terrace downtown while the city unfolds and prepares for the next day.


Watch Graciela in action


Categories: Meet our Guides, Mexico