Chef Eric Werner, of Hartwood in Tulum, has done the unthinkable – and done it well. After serving up delicious bites to Manhattan’s finest, he and his wife Mya, closed up shop and moved to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to open their jungle-side, open air restaurant in Tulum. The restaurant ethos operates using solar panels as its only sustainable form of energy, and prepares all food by hand – meaning zero electrical appliances. Now I don’t know about you, but without my Vitamix, my ability to impress you with my kitchen skills is fair to midland. Chef Werner serves up legendary agave sweetened ribs that fall off the bone, skilled preparations of ceviches laced with coconut milk and fresh lime, and cocktails laden with fresh fruit and indigenous flavors of tamarind & habanero. People begin lining up at 5:30pm for the 6pm opening of this destination dining spot – and for good reason. Hartwood is on par with the best in New York City, and worth a visit for your first (or last) meal in Tulum. Also, make sure you meet Valentin – the charming Hartwood server with the style of Santana and the swagger of Lenny Kravitz. You can’t miss him. Nor do you want to.
- What’s the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?
Tacos de Lechon is what we all look forward too con Jugo de Pina.
- What is the one knife you can’t live without?
Sharp ones always work best, balance and how well the blade holds are important to any knife.
What’s your naughty food indulgence?
Vagabundo (it’s a candy), attached to it is a bag tamarind chile, it’s great.
- What’s your mini bar go to?
I have not seen a minibar in about 8 years.
- If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?
A grilled whole chicken stand in Peto because they have the best chile lime rubbed whole chicken and corn tortillas.
- After a long day at work you go home and…?
Spend time with my family.
- If you weren’t working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?
I love cooking very much and it’s my life passion so I don’t really think about this question, but if I had to answer then it would probably be Agroecology which has become my side work for the past years in the Yucatan.
- Drink of choice?
- One cookbook you can’t live without/most referenced?
U Janal aj Maya is a book we are reading currently, that focuses on older techniques and showing patience in cooking.
- What’s the most overrated ingredient?
I dont really think there is one, I think all ingredients have their place.
- Describe your cooking in one word: