Off The Menu: Yakimeshi at Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya
Learn how to make the perfect yakimeshi with step-by-step instructions from Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya’s executive chef. | By Alison Cavatore | September 1, 2022
Technique, discipline and long hours – three components that executive chef Francisco Vargas expertly balances with a passion in every kitchen he walks into. As head of Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya’s food and beverage program, chef Vargas brings a creative and warm energy to all 11 dining venues he oversees, including Kengai, the resort’s Japanese restaurant with an Izakaya-inspired menu.
Originally from Mexico City, chef Vargas doesn’t come from a family of professional chefs, though he still spent time in the kitchen from a young age watching his mother and grandmother cook. Now with more than 18 years of professional culinary experience, chef Vargas skillfully creates a wide range of global cuisines — particularly Mexican fare with touches of Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish and American influences — and sees cooking as a part of his life, rather than a job.
As we take you off the menu at Conrad Tulum’s Kengai restaurant, chef Vargas presents a dish that is artfully vibrant and bursting with flavor: Yakimeshi (Japanese fried rice). While following along with chef Vargas’ principal instructions for cooking a perfect yakimeshi, make it your own by adding your favorite vegetables and proteins. Impress your vegetarian friends by adding diced tofu or incorporating locally sourced vegetables unique to your location.
When chef Vargas and the culinary team create a dish, they do it with a commitment to sourcing products that take care of the environment, perfectly aligning with Conrad Tulum’s future-focused commitment to sustainability. Simple but thematically flavorful is the mantra that is carried through every dish. This attention to detail and unique perspective resonates throughout chef Vargas’ menus and his skillful creativity, staunch discipline and obvious enjoyment of the process is as evident on the beautifully textured plates as it is admirable to witness.
– 30 grams carrots
– 30 grams zucchini
– 15 grams chicharo chino
– 10 grams scallions
– 20 grams soybean germ
– ½ ounce Kikkoman soy sauce
– ½ ounce Kokusan soy sauce
– 3 grams salt
– 3 grams black pepper
– ½ ounce Miyako sesame seed oil
– 15 grams ginger
– 200 grams sushi rice
– 200 ml water
– 3 grams roasted sesame seeds
– 1 egg
– beef tenderloin
Preparation of rice
Wash the rice and turn it over in a pot until it releases the starch, strain it and repeat this operation several times, until the water comes out translucent (about four or five times).
In a medium saucepan, combine the strained rice with 200 ml of water. Cover the pan.
Over high heat, cook the rice for approximately 10 minutes then decrease the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for another 10 minutes, without uncovering it at any time during the process.
Preparation of vegetables
Dice the carrots, bean sprouts and pumpkin, then slice the Chinese chicharo on a bias before also slicing the scallions.
Preheat stove. In a griddle or wok,add sesame oil.
In your griddle or wok, saute the carrots, pumpkin, Chinese peas and moyashi. Season with salt and pepper.
Add half of the cooked rice and mix well with the vegetables.
Add Kikkoman soy sauce and Kokusan soy sauce and mix all ingredients together.
In a bowl, beat the eggs andseason with salt and pepper.Cook in a separate pan. Once the egg is cooked, chop it up and add to the rice.
Serve in a deep plate or bowl, and finish with freshly chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
(Recipe from executive chef Francisco Vargas, 2022)
Alison Cavatore is the editorial assistant for the content marketing team at Hilton. She has written and copyedited for numerous print and digital publications in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Alison has lived in Miami, Scottsdale, Holland, France, Switzerland and Canada. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.