Culinary Storyteller
Flavors From the Road
Mexico City for V Foro Mundial de la Gastronomía Mexicana
Scoring an invite to Mexico City was such an honor, and a bit of a shock. How could a white guy who grew up in little old Reno and had only visited Mexico a total of 42 days in his life be worthy of sharing his “expertise” on Mexican cuisine? Of course I said yes immediately, then started working on what I wanted to share with the group of students, chefs, cooks, dignitaries and admirers of Mexican cuisine.

The focus of the World Forum on Mexican Gastronomy was to bring the cuisines of North America together so I knew I had to do some sort of mash up between classic American and Mexican dishes. I also knew that my dish needed to contain one of the staples of Mexican cuisine, masa. And so, Yucatecan Masa Ball Soup was born. A kind of chicken and dumplings meets sopa de joroch, a soup of squash and squash blossoms, normally made with blue corn pancakes.

Instead of focusing on the strict recipe during my demonstration to the crowd, I focused on sharing the story behind the two dishes and how they are both a perfect use for those odds and ends in the kitchen. Just like Grandma used to make!

Outside of the forum, I was lucky enough to eat some amazing meals! From a torta de tamal- a hearty wheat bolillo roll stuffed with a pork verde tamale, to a four hour meal at Pujol- a restaurant ranked number 20 on the world’s 50 best list, and many in between. I am happy to say that I am already invited back for next year.
Sonoma and San Francisco
A small group of friends and I went down to Sonoma and San Francisco this past weekend. I was originally scheduled to cook and host a dinner at Harvest Moon Winery , but decided to cancel due to the fires that tore through the region earlier last month. My friends and I went ahead with the trip to do some tasting and exploring to help support the area a bit. I was happy to see that though folks from the area were still a bit shocked, they were largely in good spirits.

We visited some of the Sonoma staples: Ferrari-Carano , Coppola and Ridge (always my favorite) as well as some other spots I hadn’t been before in the Dry Creek area. And of course, I stopped by a couple breweries for some suds!

After three days of tasting in the county, it was a short drive to San Francisco to meet one of the students I mentored a half dozen years ago. Genoa was a rockstar in high school and went on to finish her training at Johnson and Wales before interning at Atelier Crenn , a restaurant in the city that just received its second Michelin Star. Apparently she impressed them as she was hired on to the morning prep team and by the time you read this, she will be on the line for dinner service. It’s a pleasure to see past students doing so well!

In San Francisco, where you MUST stand out to get ahead I found that the places we enjoyed offered much smaller and very focused menus. Hook Fish Co. is almost more a showcase of fresh fish than a restaurant. They display five or six daily catches on boards with the location and even the name of the vessel on which they were caught; the menu gives you a small handful of options on how they prepare those fish. Chisme is a hot, new taco spot with six distinct taco options and half a dozen sides. Overall, the big cities are curating their foods into the best of the best and sticking to it. 
2018: Year of Big Travels
In an effort to understand food culture and celebrate the fact that we all enjoy gathering around a table, I am taking a sabbatical next year and traveling the world. That’s almost unbelievable to say! I’ve always said I wanted to travel, but work and business have always been my excuse not to. With the sale of Great Thyme catering earlier this year and a handful of other personal changes, I now have the time and ability to take off for a bit.

My first destination was always South America, and I started researching before quickly realizing how quickly you can get buried in planning a trip of this sort. I stumbled across Remote Year, applied, interviewed and quickly sent off the deposit before the idea of leaving all my comforts behind for a year scared me away. The company organizes travel for remote workers and only asks that you are working productively on a project during the trip.

12 cities, 8 countries and 4 continents at the minimum will give me plenty of opportunity to discover and learn about dining culture in a variety of places. I’ll be sharing the whole journey in a few ways so you can follow along as you like. This newsletter will be the center of the highlights, with Instagram sharing frequent updates through photos, and my Facebook page with a little more in depth info. You’ll also see a blog added to the website with a weekly rundown of my adventures.

Finally, I plan to wrap up the whole trip into a book of some form once I’ve finished the trip. My goal professionally is to understand how other cultures share their food and bring some of the best back home to share with you.

Thanks for the loyal support! And thanks for sharing this newsletter and my social outlets with your friends who may be interested. We’ll be taking a fun trip together with the digital world keeping us in touch through 2018 and beyond!
I’m Chef Clint Jolly. My entire life has been in the food world, having grown up in a butcher shop, learning how to properly cut meat at five and serving my own creations to customers by age 13. Traveling the world, working with culinary professionals and students, and gathering the flavors of the globe are my passion. Enjoy!