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Idalia Segueda moved to Sayulita eight months ago from Ixtapa, which is in the Mexican state, Guerrero. Leaving behind a successful restaurant and hotel, Agua Azul, she became the new chef at North Side Café three months ago.
So, first off, how did your passion for cooking develop?
I was always in restaurants as a child since my family owned restaurants, but I didn’t know I had a passion for cooking until I entered the kitchen to cook. I was about 17 or 18 years old and started cooking without really thinking about it, and I really liked it. Once I realized how much I liked it, every time someone would say kitchen, I would run to it.
How did you get your start as a chef?
My parents owned a restaurant and I started working there. Then when I finished school to become a chef, I worked at a restaurant at the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport.
What made you want to cook professionally in Sayulita?
Sayulita is a tranquil place. Also, there are many cultures here – a lot of people come from all over and I can prepare food that they like at North Side Café.
Are there any challenges to being a chef in Sayulita? What is harder and what is easier?
It can be a challenge to find all of the ingredients for all of our menu items, which actually works to the advantage of our guests. Since we have a hard time finding all of the ingredients, most everything is made in-house, such as our English muffins, breakfast sausage, and banana/coconut/chocolate muffins. We use fresh organic and local produce, which is easy to find here in Sayulita.
How would you describe your culinary style?
It’s different – it’s my own style. I prefer the taste of Mexican food, so I take a traditional Mexican dish and create it into my own style. At North Side Café, I would describe the food as Mexican/American.
What do you like about being the chef at North Side Café?
I love to cook!
What are your favorite, fresh from Sayulita ingredients to use?
Eggs – there are a hundred ways to cook an egg.
When creating a complete meal in Sayulita, what factors do you take into consideration?
Everything has to be very fresh and authentic. I also take into consideration all types of flavors – I like to mix sweet, salty, savory, etc., so you can get a different taste with each bite.
Do you have a signature dish? If so, what is it and how would you describe it?
Fish filet with an orange sauce and steamed veggies is my specialty dish when I’m at home cooking for friends and family. At North Side Café, there is a sweet and savory special, which is a homemade pancake that comes with an over easy egg or scrambled eggs, and bacon. But, our breakfast burritos are what most people come for – that or the banana pancakes.
Will you share your most entertaining “kitchen disaster” story?
I made a fresh cake for friends and everything looked great until I cut it and we tried it. I had forgotten to put the sugar in it!
What’s your favorite kitchen tool to use in Sayulita and why?
The grill. There’s not a lot of grease, so it’s healthy and I can make a lot of different things on it.
If you could recommend one other Sayulita restaurant other than yours, what would it be?
Medusa - they serve very fresh food.
If you had to choose a last meal, what would it be?
Chicken mole and agua de jamaica (hibiscus water).