From one great restaurant to another, Chef Dionicio Jimenez knows how to make Philadelphians food happy, but who knew he had a soft spot for Disney mermaids?
You left Xochitl, where you were partner and chef, for Steven Starr’s El Rey. What inspired to make the change?
It was time to try something different; I was looking for a new experience.
At El Rey, you’ve delivering some authentic Mexican cuisine from your hometown. What makes food from Puebla so unique?
The food from Puebla is very simple, the flavors are very authentic to the region. We use a lot of dried chiles and spices like clove, anise, and canela. One dish that represents Puebla is the Chile en Nogada, which is a poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef, nuts and dried fruits. In Puebla we use a lot of fruit in cooking as well.
If you had to choose any other cuisine to prepare, what would it be?
How would you describe Philly’s dining scene?
Diverse -- you can eat at Pat’s Steaks one night and Barclay Prime the next. Or, Chinatown, the Italian market, the taquerias.
Where do you go to eat when you’re out on the town?
L’Oca, Buddakan, Taco Riendo
You’ve credited your mom with instilling in you her passion for food. So, when the two of you are together, who does the cooking?
We cook together. I usually make the more modern things, she cooks the more traditional items, like the salsas and tortillas.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare at home?
Give us three items that are always in your fridge?
Cerveza, tequila, and black beans
The 3 ingredients every home kitchen should have?
Really good tomatoes, cheese (I like Talleggio), meat (I like ribeye)
The 3 utensils every home kitchen should have?
A blender, a nice iron pan -- 10”, a great chef’s knife
What’s one secret about you that the public doesn’t know (and make it juicy)?
My favorite Disney movie is “The Little Mermaid.”