Curiously Culinary From Day One
As a young boy Alexander Branch was enamored by exotic spices and fragrant herbs—he watched his father experiment with fried rice and shepherd’s pie in the kitchen—and was soon refining the dishes himself. Now, as the Chef de Cuisine, under the inspiring leadership of acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera, he brings his passion for elegantly prepared and locally-sourced cuisine to the most unique dining establishment on the Baja Peninsula; Manta at The Cape.
Branch spent many years working in prestigious kitchens all over the world (from Germany to Australia, and more) and collaborated with star chefs like Monica Patiño and Jean Georges Vongerichten. Here he gives rare insight into the demands of running a kitchen, where you can find, and recreate, some of his most memorable meals, and more.
What’s a typical day at Manta like?
I spend a lot of time talking with our staff and finding more efficient ways to run the kitchen. We also experiment and taste new menu ideas so we can present them to Chef Enrique. We prepare our existing menu items too, to make sure the dishes are exactly on point.
Where’s your favorite place in Los Cabos?
I love seafood and the best kind is the “Mariscos Sinaloenses” or Seafood from the state of Sinaloa. I would recommend either “Mariscos Guasave” or “Las Tres Islas”, they are easily the best places in town.
What are the driving flavor profiles influencing the menu at Manta?
Flavor is the most important factor at Manta. We also strive to showcase a side of Mexican food that is not so well known—Mexican coastal food. Not all Mexican food is moles or heavy sauces; it can be light, refreshing and flavorful without being heavily spiced. At Manta we focus on delicious and simple food, that’s elegantly prepared.
What’s currently your favorite meal and cocktail pairing on the menu at Manta?
I love the combination of the “Dragon on the Beach” and the Seafood Tostada; or maybe the 1940 with the Octopus Anticucho.
Do you have a favorite celebrity chef/guilty pleasure?
I really like what Jean George Vongerichten does and I admire chefs like Susur Lee and Masaharu Morimoto.
What have been some of your most memorable meals?
What is the most important decision for shaping a special meal?
I believe that the most important decision is the occasion. Once you know and familiar with what you are celebrating, everything else falls into place.
What would you want your last meal on earth to be?
My dads fried rice.
Describe Manta in three words.
Fun, delicious, comfortable.
You travel frequently. What’s your favorite new city?
I loved Brisbane Australia together with Melbourne and of course Guadalajara in Mexico.