By Arthur Tam
‘When you look at a pork chop and when I look at a pork chop, it has a totally different meaning,’ says Alfredo Perez Gomez, the new executive chef at Mr & Mrs Fox. What he means is that, unlike himself, most people treat meat like it’s just a slab on their plate without considering where it comes from, how it was raised or how to properly prepare and honour it.
“I had the privilege of growing up with my grandmother,” he says about his childhood in Jalisco, Mexico. “Her house was like an institution. She grew her own vegetables and raised chickens and pigs. I would feed the pigs and sacrifice them, while my grandmother taught me how to cook every part of it. When I was a kid, I traded my radio with a friend of mine who lived on a farm for six suckling pigs. What kind of kid does that? But today, you’d be surprised how many sous chefs haven’t even seen a slaughterhouse.”
Gomez is here to change all that at Mr & Mrs Fox. Not only is he passing down the fundamentals and crucial knowledge he inherited from his abuela and the rest of his family, but also his collective culinary experience of working at AAA 5 diamond, Michelin-starred restaurants in the US, Mexico and France for over a decade.
Upon meeting with Perez, we could immediately sense he’s a seasoned, old school, no-nonsense chef, which is appropriate, considering he was instrumental in helping the most notoriously strict and abrasive of chefs, Gordon Ramsay, open up Bread Street Kitchen and London House here in Hong Kong. “There was a time when I worked in heated kitchens when people cursed at each other as motivation and didn’t worry about their feelings being hurt,” says Gomez. “But things are much different now. Sometimes I feel like I'm a priest as much as I am a chef in the kitchen. I listen to how people feel and the kitchen is really a contribution from the team.”
Gomez says he doesn’t follow trends but instead focuses on ensuring that the classics are executed to perfection – preparing each dish properly, but perhaps with slight variations. For example, new to the menu is the La Provence beef tartar with roasted bone marrow, garlic bread and smoked paprika aioli. “Here I want you to taste the essence of the meat,” he says. “I don’t believe in mixing the sauces to mask the flavour of the steak. I don't think that’s the point. Just have a taste, you’ll see.”
He’s right, it’s a mighty yummy tartar, and it was the correct decision to use the aioli as a dipping sauce and not as a binding agent. Paired with the fragrant bone marrow and garlic bread, your mouth experiences a sumptuously creamy and crunchy bite.
As not to disappoint, Gomez has also incorporated a few Mexican dishes. First is the grilled octopus on top of forbidden black rice, tomato compote-made herb purée. “The mole (the Mexican term for a number of sauces) used for this dish is from a family recipe spanning six generation,” says Gomez. The octopus is tender, and the sauce was a divine mix of spices that leaves your mouth wanting more. Another standout is the grilled fish tacos. Gomez’s uncle ran a successful taco stand with a queue snaking far and wide, so we can take that into account when Gomez attests that these tacos are the real deal and perhaps the only authentic ones in Hong Kong, for which the handmade corn tortillas are dipped in pig fat before being put on a flat top. You won’t want to try tacos anywhere else and after tasting these.
Hungry yet? Book a table at Mr & Mrs Fox now!
Mr & Mrs Fox
23 Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place | tel: 2697 8500 | facebook.com/MRMRSFOXHK/