Herringbone and Casa Calavera
Interview with Executive Chef Alex Branch
By Antonio Vargas
Originally from Mexico City, with studies in Hotel Management, Alex Branch, Executive Chef of Hakkasan Group gave us a delightful interview to talk about the Herringbone and Casa Calavera restaurants. Located inside the Resort Vidanta Los Cabos in San José del Cabo.
With thirty-six years old, Alex Branch is a young chef with a high culinary talent and a great deal of experience, and although he began in the hotel sector, he was always more interested in the restaurant area. Curiously enough, Alex didn’t like cooking, he says he would love to have romantic stories about it, involving his grandmother, the molcajete, the tortillas, the smells of bread, but the truth of the matter is that for him at first, it was just a job that allowed him to get money to buy beer. His first job was as a kitchen assistant at the Restaurant del Lago in Mexico City and it was there that he realized that he was attracted to the restaurant industry.
He later moved to Playa del Carmen where he worked in a bar in various positions, he would return to Mexico City a while later; one day he accompanied a friend to a school that offered the academic training of a chef and there he stayed to begin formal studies in the culinary career.
Casa Calavera Restaurant
Asia, Europe, Australia, are places where his cooking talent took him. Alex Branch tells us that architecture and spaces attract his attention powerfully, for him it is very important that the spaces have meaning and they should be harmonious. He tells us he is a fan of seafood, loves to eat, work, manipulate and use things that come from the sea. The balance of the fish is something incredible as a cook and as a customer, because it doesn’t give you much room for error, or it’s the right thing or totally wrong, there are no average terms. The sea product has a lot of subtlety. If I had to talk about influences within my career,” he says, “I’m very interested in the methodology and philosophy of Japanese cuisine, it’s something I could sum up in two words, Respect and Honesty”.
“My team and I are guided by four principles. Be honest with yourself, be honest with your partner, be honest with the ingredient and in the end be honest with the customer.
Today Alex Branch is in charge of the Herringbone and Casa Calavera restaurants.
Herringbone is focused on seafood, offering food from the Californian coast, from Los Cabos to the northern border of the state of California. The restaurant handles elements in its decoration similar to the other Herringbone restaurants found in the United States, for example, olive trees, nautical motifs, such as ropes, pangas, etc… The service is personal, the concept is casual; it is a place where you go to eat good products in a relaxed atmosphere.
Casa Calavera Interior
And as for Casa Calavera, it became the first Mexican restaurant in the Hakkasan group’s portfolio and they chose Los Cabos for its launch because they essentially wanted to open a Mexican restaurant in Mexico. The kitchen, worth the redundancy is purely Mexican, mostly “street”, tacos, esquites, guacamole, etc… The image of the restaurant revolves around the traditional Day of the Dead. It must be taken into account that it also includes sea themes, as it is located right on the beach with a spectacular view, lends itself to the idea of spending a whole day there with your feet in the sand. On Tuesdays, you can enjoy the Taco Tuesday special, all the tacos you can eat for one price. I must mention that the tacos can be considered gourmet and the sauces are absolutely delicious, at night from 7 to 9 pm they have live music.
Live Music at Casa Calavera
When we asked Alex how he saw his work personally, he told us that he felt that his main role is that of a teacher, someone who is at the service of or in support of the people who honor him and take pride in his work. He considers his main job to be his cooks, who are in an environment that rewards them and not only economically but also makes them grow as human beings in every way, who can advance their careers and their lives. He told us: “This is how I grew up, attending the different kitchens in which I was trained, thinking, what am I going to learn today? And how this is going to help me in the future?”
Casa Calavera Entrance
He became Executive Chef for the first time at the age of thirty, it was a goal accomplished and his next goal in the future is to have his own restaurant. From what we have managed to appreciate his cooking and tenacity, we are confident that it is something you will achieve in time.
Casa Calavera Bar
Herringbone and Casa Calavera are now two culinary options that have come to revitalize the activity in San Jose del Cabo, we highly recommend these two restaurants, be sure to visit them to enjoy the cuisine of Alex Branch and the pleasant and charming atmosphere of both restaurants. Herringbone is open from 5 to 11 pm, Sunday brunch will be back in October and Casa Calavera is open from 11 am to 11 pm. Located inside the Resort Vidanta Los Cabos in San José del Cabo.