Recipes For Success: Fusion, Community And Passion With Purpose

Food & Drink

Edgar Román is serious about food; and serious about Los Cabos, where he’s been living for the last 20 years, fusing his gastronomic knowledge with his region’s local ingredients.

Román’s restaurant Don Sanchez was born in the adversity of the pandemic. He built a large, new alfresco restaurant around a palapa, aiming to reproduce the old Mexican ‘Josefino’ patio. For those not in the know, a palapa is an open-sided dwelling with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves. Román is very proud that old, local techniques were used, with the structure made only of palm and held together by knots. “It’s built stronger, which aligns with my food philosophy,” he says.

In 2019, Román started changing the food, combining all the different cultures from around Mexico, with the products sustainably sourced from Baja. “During the pandemic, I refined things,” he says. In June 2022, he opened the new restaurant. “Our menus depend on the seasons, or some specific catch,” he explains. When it comes to seafood “we’re not talking about just prawns, shrimp, or mussels, we’re talking about at least fifteen different kinds of fish.”

Los Cabos is a flourishing food destination. When asked what it’s like for new chefs and investors opening up in the region, Román says: “We are more like a community, when you talk about the chefs. When someone new arrives, we embrace them, and invite them to be part of the group of chefs.” Los Cabos has many top chefs born outside the country – whether Austrian, Swiss, French, German, American and Italian: “We share a lot, you know, we actually hold internal events – just like family meals, but only with chefs. It’s a brotherhood. We share a lot, and that makes a huge difference.”

For tourists, he advises: “Go to where the locals eat. Try to find the true flavors. My first recommendation would be to send them to very small restaurants. He suggests people don’t just stick to the towns and explore Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and East Cape. And even though the region is now famed for seafood, Román encourages people to look beyond it. After all, he explains that Cabo’s traditional food is not seafood. “Right now everything is built next to the ocean, but in the past, there was nothing – just sand and dunes; that was it,” he says.

Like all the top chefs in Los Cabos, Román embraces innovation, drawing on the rest of the world, but also the huge diversity and innovation of Mexico. But ultimately, the chefs are reliant on local producers, which despite all the tourists are still small. He lauds their role in keeping the ecosystem sustainable.

Román is proud that the Michelin guide is coming to Los Cabos as part of its expansion into Mexico. And he isn’t shy about his ambition to “get a star or two. We have the same products, but believe me the way that I do things is different from chefs of another country.” But ultimately, he knows it will come with hard work and consistency. It’s a lesson applicable to all founders: “Keep doing the things with the same passion with the same purpose, which is to give a true experience to the customer.”

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