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Watch: Barbacoa, Mole, Mushroom Ravioli, and Gnocchi All on One Menu

At El Barzon in Detroit, chef Norberto Garita combines his love for Mexican and Italian cuisine

In this episode of Cooking in America, host Sheldon Simeon meets chef Norberto Garita, who owns El Barzon in Detroit. His restaurant is pretty unique, serving both traditional Mexican dishes, such as mole poblano, alongside traditional Italian dishes like cavatelli alla boscaiola. The reason? Garita worked in the kitchens of an Italian restaurant for 12 years, and wanted to pair his Italian cooking skills with the food of his hometown: Puebla, Mexico. “A lot of people think if you’re Mexican, you cannot cook Italian,” Garita says. “But these days, in those high-class restaurants, it’s a lot of Mexicans cooking the food [in] the kitchens.”

Garita keeps the two cuisines separate on his menu — “it’s the best of both worlds,” Simeon marvels. But Garita has made one exception, for a potato gnocchi dish with cream and chorizo sauce. For Garita, the hybrid menu reflects everything he wants to eat. “If I have my barbacoa and mole, and I have my pastas,” he tells Simeon, “I’m happy.”

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