Fresh ingredients and bold Latin flavors infuse the menus at Mexican Chef Richard Sandoval’s 30 restaurants across the country and the globe.

Born in Mexico City, Sandoval grew up cooking traditional Mexican feasts alongside his grandmother, inheriting from her a love of fresh ingredients and from his restaurateur father the know-how around the food business.


Recently, the Mexican chef celebrated the 15th anniversary of his Manhattan restaurant, Maya New York. With a menu fusing traditional and modern tastes in Mexican cuisine and a new tequileria boasting more than 200 agave-based spirits,--its predecessor being Sandoval’s 19,000 square foot La Biblioteca de Tequila ((The Tequila Library) -- the Chef has become an authority on complementing south of the border flavors with the spirit.

“Diners are just learning to appreciate tequila’s subtle nuances, and distillers are constantly developing new techniques to bring out the agave’s more delicate flavors,” Sandoval told The Huffington Post. “Tequila can be paired with Mexican cuisine just as well as wine with other foods.”

And while National Tequila Day won’t be back around anytime soon, there’s no reason preparation can’t start right away. Check out below some of the Chef’s tips on how tequila can complement a dish and celebrate a shot of tequila the Sandoval way.

“I also have a rally which has become a little bit of a cheer for when I drink tequila -- ¡Venga, venga! -- which means ‘Let’s go, let’s go!’,” Sandoval added. “I don’t usually get up at a table and shout this during a meal, but most certainly after.”

¡Venga, venga!

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  • Tips from Chef Richard Sandoval

    Good tequila can really <a href="" target="_hplink">take you through a dinner and really complement a meal.</a> They kind of go hand-in-hand with the way food is served: - Blanco tequilas (which are not aged, or aged for a very short period of time) are light and mix great in cocktails. They are perfect to drink while waiting for your table at a restaurant or at the start of your meal. - Reposado tequilas are aged a minimum of 2 months and less than a year. They pick up some more robust flavor notes from the oak barrels They're delicious to drink with an appetizer. I recently created a custom double-aged barrel of reposado with Herradura Tequila. It was aged 11 months in the first barrel and finished one additional month in a brand new barrel, 30 days longer than Herradura's traditional reposado. - Añejos are "aged" or "vintage" and are aged one to three years. These are very smooth and a lot more complex; almost like a cognac or brandy. Delicious to enjoy with an entrée or dessert. - Extra Añejos or "extra aged" which are aged a minimum of three years. Extra Anejos are a fabulous, and special way, to end a meal. Diners are just learning to appreciate tequila's subtle nuances, and distillers are constantly developing new techniques to bring out agave's more delicate flavors. Tequila can be paired with Mexican cuisine just as well as wine with other foods. I also have a rally which has become a little bit of a cheer for when I drink tequila - ¡Venga, venga! - which means "Let's go, let's go!". I don't usually get up at a table and shout this during a meal, but most certainly after. ¡Salud!

  • Tuna Tartare Guacamole

    (Serves 4) <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients: </strong></u> 2 ea avocadoes; ripe 1 serrano chile; minced (increase or decrease to make spicy or less spicy) 1 tbsp minced red onion 2 tbsp minced tomatoes 2 tbsp minced cilantro 3 oz ahi tuna; cut into cubes 2 tbsp ponzu sauce (*A) sesame seeds 1 c shredded jicama 1 tbsp minced cilantro juice of 1 lime 2 tbsp chipotle aioli (*B) salt and pepper to taste fried won ton "chips" (can substitute regular corn tortilla chips) <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) You will need a large and two small bowls for this dish. 2) In the large bowl, remove the flesh from the two avocadoes and discard the skin and seeds. 3) Mash these avocadoes with a fork or spoon until a rough puree is formed. 4) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the Serrano, tomato, cilantro, onion and stir to combine thoroughly. Reserve this the side. 5) In one of the small bowls, combine the tuna with the ponzu and the sesame seeds. 6) In the third bowl, combine the shredded jicama, cilantro and lime juice and toss together, seasoning with salt and pepper. 7) To serve, place the guacamole into the center of a large serving bowl. 8) Top with chipotle aioli, and then the tuna tartare. Finish by topping with the shredded jicama and serve with the won ton chips. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients *A (Ponzu):</strong></u> 1/2 cup yuzu citrus juice 1 cup mirin sweet cooking sake 1 cup light soy sauce 1/2 c rice vinegar 1/4 c sake 10cm-long piece kombu kelp pinch red pepper flakes 1/4 c mirin (to finish) <br /> <strong>Instructions: </strong> 1) In a small sauce pan place mirin, red pepper flakes and kombu. 2) Cook over low heat until reduced by half. 3) Remove from heat and let cool. 4) Combine with remaining ingredients and place in the refrigerator. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients *B (Chipotle Aioli):</strong></u> 2 c mayonnaise 2 tbsp chipotle puree (note: this is canned chipotles in adobo pureed in the blender. Add to your preference, as they are spicy) 1 tbsp honey juice of 1/2 lime <br /> <strong>Instructions: </strong> 1) Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Reserve in the refrigerator.

  • Watermelon Tajin Margarita

    <u><strong>Ingredients: </strong></u> 1.5 ounces Herradura Reposado 2 ounces Watermelon purée (see recipe below) 1 ounce Lime Juice 1 ounce Tajin infused simple syrup (see recipe below) <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice, shake 30 times, and strain into a glass over ice. 2) Garnish with 3 watermelon spheres (made using a melon-baller) <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients Watermelon Purée:</strong></u> 3 cups Seedless Watermelon 3 cups Watermelon (with seeds; seeds removed) <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) Remove the seeds from the non-seedless watermelon. 2) Chop both kinds of watermelon into cubes and purée together in a blender. 3) Strain and refrigerate in a sealed container. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients Tajin Simple Syrup:</strong></u> 3 cups Granulated Sugar 1 cup water 3 Tbsp Tajin Seasoning <br /> <strong>Instructions: </strong> 1) Dissolve 3 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water. 2) Once dissolved, add the Tajin to the hot syrup mixture. 3) Turn off heat and let spices steep for 20 minutes. 4) Strain and store at room temperature. For Tajin, visit <a href="" target="_hplink"></a>

  • Crispy Cod Tacos with Poblano Chili Tartar Sauce and Pickled Cucumbers

    (Serves 4) <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients:</strong></u> 1.5 lbs fresh cod, cut into 12 equal sized strips 1 tsp vegetable oil 1 tsp minced garlic juice of 1 lemon 1 recipe tempura batter (*A) 2 c all purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper 2-3 cups shredded napa cabbage 1 recipe pickled onions and cucumbers (*B) 1 recipe poblano chili tartar sauce (*C) 12 flour tortillas salt and pepper to season/taste <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) Place the fish into a large glass baking dish and toss with oil, garlic and half of the lemon juice. 2) Season with salt and pepper and let marinate for about an hour, no more than two. 3) Place the seasoned flour and the tempura batter into two separate bowls. 4) Heat a saucepan filled with canola oil for frying to 350°. 5) Dip each piece of fish first into the flour and then into the tempura batter. 6) Be sure to shake off any excess batter and then fry fish in batches until golden brown, crispy and cooked through. 7) Keep the cooked fish warm in a low temperature oven on roasting racks until all fish is cooked. 8) Wrap the tortillas in a paper towel and microwave briefly for a minute or so, or until warmed. 9) Toss the cabbage with the remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper. 10) Lay out the tortillas and top each tortilla with a piece of fried fish. 11) Spoon the tartare sauce on the fish and then finish each taco with equal parts cabbage and the pickled onion/cucumber mixture. Serve immediately. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients (*A) Tempura Batter:</strong></u> 1 egg; whipped well 1 1/2 c flour 12 oz soda water; cold 1 tbsp salt <br /> <strong>Instructions: </strong> 1) Mix all ingredients together and whip to thoroughly combine. 2) Keep very cold until ready to use. 3) This recipe makes a considerable amount of batter, there may be extra. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients (*B) Pickled Onion & Cucumber:</strong></u> 1 small red onion; sliced paper thin 1 seedless cucumber; cut in half and sliced thin 2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp salt 1 c red wine vinegar 1 tsp your favorite habanero salsa (optional) <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) Place the onions into a large bowl and toss with the salt and sugar. 2) Let marinate for about an hour at room temperature. 3) After an hour, strain off the liquid from this and add the vinegar, cucumbers and the habanero salsa. 4) Reserve in the refrigerator. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients (*C ) Poblano Chili Tartar Sauce: </strong></u> 2 c mayonnaise 1 tbsp lime zest 2 tsp lime juice 1 poblano chili; roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped fine 1 tsp garlic; minced 1 tbsp cilantro; minced salt and pepper to taste <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) In a large mixing bowl, toss all of the ingredients together until well combined. 2) Reserve in the refrigerator.

  • Maya Ginger Fizz

    <strong>Ingredients:</strong> 1.5 ounces Double Barrel Herradura Reposado 3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice 1 Sprig of Mint 1 bottle Ginger Beer <br /> <strong>Instructions: </strong> 1) In a Collins Glass, add the tequila and fresh lime juice. 2) Fill with ice and top with Ginger Beer. 3) Stir the ingredients together. 4) Garnish with a Sprig of Mint.

  • Mahi Mahi a la Talla

    (Serves 4) <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients:</strong></u> 4-6 oz pieces of fresh mahi mahi 1 c adobo marinade (*A) 1 c mayonnaise 2 tbsp honey 2 tbsp achiote paste; blended with 1 c water until smooth 1 c habanero chive rouille (*B) 4 large ripe heirloom tomatoes; sliced thin juice of 1 lemon 1/2 c cilantro; minced 2-3 cups shredded napa cabbage 4 corn tortillas 2 tbsp vegetable oil chives for garnish or micro greens salt and pepper to season/taste <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) In a large mixing bowl combine the adobo, mayonnaise, achiote and honey and mix thoroughly until well combined. 2) Place the fish into a large glass baking dish and toss with marinade. 3) Marinate for 4-6 hours or overnight. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, lemon juice, cilantro and rouille and season with salt. 4) Toss to coat the cabbage and reserve in the refrigerator. Bring a large non stick skillet to high heat on the stove. 5) Remove the fish from the marinade, brush off any excess marinade and season the fish with salt and pepper. 6) Add the oil to the hot pan and then add the fish. Cook the fish about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. 7) Right before removing the fish from the heat, glaze the fish with some of the left over marinade until the marinade caramelizes. 8) On four serving plates, arrange the sliced tomatoes in a circular pattern around the edge of the plate and season with salt and pepper. 9) Lightly toast the corn tortillas and fold in half and place in the center of the plate. 10) Top the tortilla with equal portions of the cabbage slaw and top each plate with a piece of fish. Garnish with chives or micro greens and serve immediately. <br /> <u><strong>Ingredients (*A) Adobo Marinade:</strong></u> 1 oz vegetable oil 2 c white onion; diced 2 cloves garlic; smashed 8 oz guajillo chiles; deveined and seeded .5 oz toasted cumin seeds .5 oz cinnamon sticks 2 qts water 1 oz salt <br /> <strong><u>Instructions:</u></strong> 1) Bring a large saucepan to high heat. Sweat onions and garlic until translucent and then add remaining ingredients. 2) Simmer all ingredients until chiles are soft and then remove cinnamon sticks. 3) Puree sauce until very smooth and reserve until thoroughly chilled <br /> <strong>Ingredients *B (Habanero Chive Rouille):</strong> 1 egg yolk 1/2 liter of canola oil 1 small bunch of chives; blanched briefly in salted water and shocked in ice water to cool 1 habanero chili; stemmed, seeded and minced fine 1/2 tbsp. honey 1 tbsp lemon juice salt to taste <br /> <strong>Instructions:</strong> 1) In a blender place the egg yolk, habanero and honey and blend until smooth. 2) While the blender is running, slowly add in the oil in a slow steady stream until fully incorporated. 3) Pat the chives dry in paper towels. Blend chives and lemon juice into rouille until fully incorporated, season with salt and reserve in the refrigerator.

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