Manzanilla | Ensenada, MX
Molina’s world of gastronomy starts during summer vacation when he was 15 years old, working as a busboy in the renowned and (now sadly disappeared) Maxim’s of Paris, in Mexico City, where he was born. This experience would mark his destiny. After studying economics, he returned to Maxim’s, this time to the kitchen, where he worked as an assistant fish cook for one year. Later, he embarked on a tuna boat off the coast of La Paz, Baja California Sur, where he worked a kitchen assistant and fished yellowfin tuna. This experience strengthens his existing love for the sea.
Molina completed his professional studies at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where he met his mentor Maitre Cuisinier de France Michel LeBorgne who sent him to work with another French master chef, to his native Brittany where he learned techniques for the handling seafood in a classic way. During his stay in Europe he visited San Sebastian for the first time and was amazed by the richness of Basque cuisine. Later he moved to Boston to work with the renowned chef Todd English in his restaurant Olives. This Mediterranean style of cooking would influence Molina’s own style.
The prestigious Mexican winemaker Hugo D’Acosta hired him as head chef for the restaurant La Embotelladora Vieja in Ensenada Baja California where he meets his wife, the talented chef Solange Muris. Together, in 2005, they opened their own restaurant in Ensenada called Manzanilla, for the olive of the region. Today Manzanilla specializes in sustainable local products and has become a reference point of the gastronomy of Baja California and Mexico. The magazine Life & Style named Manzanilla one of the three most important Mexican restaurants of the decade. The English publication “Monocle” called it “one of the eight best restaurants in Mexico.” In 2009, the publishing house Larousse, selected Molina as one of the top chefs of Mexico within a publication with the same name. In the summer season, Molina and Muris open Silvestre, a terrace in the Valley of Guadalupe between olive trees and vineyards with a single menu and where everything is cooked over a wood fire. Benito Molina has represented Mexican cuisine in cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, San Sebastian, Stockholm, Bogotá and New York, amongst others.