Guest Chef Series — Mike Isabella & Alicia Jenish

In the spring we announced our inaugural international chef and mixologist series. The series kicked off in March with Chef Mike Isabella, chef/owner of Graffiato and the upcoming Kapnos and G in Washington, DC. Alicia Jenish, executive chef of The Grand Cafe in San Francisco, was our guest chef in May. Mike and Alicia were kind enough to share a couple recipes with us. Enjoy!

Mike Isabella

Mike Isabella…. What can we say? What a character, what fun, what an all around good guy. Took the time from his busy schedule to wind down Tulum-style and check out our Yucatecan cocina. Shared his secrets and whipped up some wicked specials. And did we mention that Mike LOVES tacos? Lamb, pork, goat… And he is into the real food of the Yucatan – give him pig ears, pig feet, and all the rest of the animal. At the bar this guy loves his stuff strong and to the point. We have a new drink on the menu named after him, Izzy’s Margarita.


Don Julio Reposado, Mezcal Vida, Controy and lime, on the rocks, unsalted rim.

Alicia Jenish

It was such a pleasure to have Alicia Jenish at ZAMAS – she enamored us with her amazing specials and charmed us with her delightful personality. She loved the Tulum scene – the beach, the ruins, the cenotes, and swimming with the turtles. Belying her cheery deposition and colorful style, Alicia was quick to impress us with her knife skills when she butchered a 23 kilo pig in a half hour. Wow! She too is a TACO GIRL – do all chefs love meat? During her stay, she prepared some killer tortas and an awesome Pulpo Pizza. Check out her fabulous Pulpo Stew recipe that can be folded in with risotto or pasta – or used on pizza. Yum!

Pulpo Stew
1 large octopus, (about 4 pounds) cut into 1” pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups tomatoes, (canned unless it’s summer!) chopped
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons brandy
½ cup white wine

In a stainless steel pot, add the oil and heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook until dry. Add the octopus and bay, cook until it has released its liquid and then cook till dry. Add brandy, flame and then add white wine. Simmer until the stew is tender. Cool and finish with a cup of fresh chopped parsley.