Busy putting the finishing touches on Onda, opening this summer with Jessica Koslow, the chef-owner is also the subject of a Netflix documentary and the author of a new cookbook that celebrates traditional Mexican ingredients
Words by NANDITA KHANNA
On Wednesday, May 15, at NeueHouse in Hollywood, chef Gabriela Cámara didn’t assume her regular post overseeing a bustling kitchen. Instead the chef-owner of Mexico City’s Contramar and San Francisco sister restaurant Cala, was the subject (and toast) of the evening, which celebrated both her new cookbook, My Mexico City Kitchen (Lorena Jones Books) and the new Netflix documentary, A Tale of Two Kitchens. Guests, which included sittings editor Lawren Howell (who styled Cámara for a recent Vogue feature), designer Stevie Howell and sommelier Helen Johannesen. Cámara’s brother, Carlos, and sister-in-law, who live in L.A., joined in the festivities, as did jewelry designer Gabriela Artigas, to round out the chef’s adoring fan base.
After a conversation about the documentary, which explores the cuisine and culture of both Cala and Contramar, guests sipped Mezcal-spiked cocktails before sitting down for dinner in the Atrium. Here, NeueHouse chef Timothy Ralphs put together a menu of Camara’s oft-imitated tuna tostadas along with avocado stuffed with shrimp to start. Mains were served family-style and hit on favorites like mussel tamales, grilled octopus with black salsa, plus a summer squash and asparagus salad — all taken from Camara’s cookbook, of course. In true Mexico City fashion, the night went late, with guests lingering for hours, sipping cocktails and laughing, before clutching their newly signed cookbooks as they made their way out into the night.
Feature image: A bird’s-eye view of the GABRIELA CÁMARA-curated spread. Photo by Ana Azarov Photography.
May 21, 2019