Star chef Richard Sandoval has long been on the cutting edge of Latin flavors. His newest concept at Tamayo, called the Test Kitchen, is no exception. Sandoval has built his career on modern Mexican and pan-Latino twists on Mexican cooking, and he decided it was time for his culinary team to truly understand the regional flavors and traditions of his homeland. Sandoval invited 10 of his top corporate chefs to join him on a culinary tour of the specific regions of Mexico that have inspired his cooking. The results of the journey—the trip consisted of visiting markets, grandmothers, restaurants, roadside stands, distilleries, and tequila fields—can be tasted on Tamayo’s menus. Tonight, in fact, Tamayo unveils the first in a series of new regional dishes inspired by the city of Guadalajara and the surrounding tequila fields of Jalisco (pictured above).

Although Sandoval grew up in Mexico City, he was drawn to the colors, flavors, and textures of Guadalajara’s cuisine, particularly when paired with the area’s famous tequilas. Sandoval—who curates one of the largest collections of tequilas in North America and the Middle East—wanted to inspire a menu that not only paired well with the signature spirit of Jalisco, but was also driven by the region. We caught up with corporate chef Patrick Maxey, who accompanied Sandoval on the expedition, to see what captured his imagination.

“I couldn’t get over the colors that were everywhere in the markets, the restaurants, in the food itself,” Maxey explains. “There was a rainbow of color in the masa alone, not to mention all the vegetables and sauces we tried along the way. We tried to bring that home in dishes like the Guadalajara-style lamb shank. In this dish we couple [Lombardi Brother’s] lamb that’s been roasted and braised for hours with the rich colors and flavors in the adobo sauce, pinto beans, and deep red pickled onions. Then we add bright greens in the drizzled cilantro oil to highlight the traditional colors of Mexico, as well as bring out all the deep flavors of the meats we discovered at the restaurants and roadside stands. After following the entire production of tequila from the fields to the distilleries in Jalisco, we also completely understand how the smokiness in this dish pairs perfectly with a nice reposado.”

Tip: Pair the dishes (like the chile and coffee–rubbed carne asada) on Tamayo’s new Guadalajara menu with an anejo tequila. In October, the Test Kitchen will shift its focus to the region of Oaxaca.

1400 Larimer St., 720-946-1433