5 minutes with… Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez

Ixchel is the newly launched Mexican restaurant and tequila bar in the bustling heart of Chelsea and, heading up the kitchen is talented head chef, Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez

Food and Drink 23 Apr 2024

Ixchel interiors

With a culinary journey that spans from prestigious Michelin-starred establishments like Brat in Shoreditch to the dynamic flavours of Mexico City’s Dulce Patria, chef Gonzalez brings a rich tapestry of experience to Ixchel. Her menu is a celebration of authentic Mexican cuisine, meticulously crafted with locally sourced ingredients and a creative twist. From sharing-style tapas to platos fuertes (main dishes) cooked on the robata grill, every plate reflects Gonzalez’s passion for delivering unforgettable fare inspired by her homeland.

Brummell spoke with Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez to discuss her career and the art behind delicious Mexican cuisine.

Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez
Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez

What can guests look forward to experiencing at Ixchel?

At Ixchel, diners can expect a beautiful and welcoming atmosphere in the heart of the King’s Road, reflecting our love for vibrant, fresh and shared meals with loved ones.

What motivated you to become the head chef at Ixchel?

Taking on the role of head chef at Ixchel gives me the opportunity to create, innovate and showcase Mexican cuisine among the world’s best. My ultimate goal is to authentically represent Mexico’s culinary artistry.

Ixchel's menu is a celebration of authentic Mexican cuisine
Ixchel’s menu is a celebration of authentic Mexican cuisine

You’ve crafted the entire menu at Ixchel. What inspired your menu design?

My inspiration for the menu comes from my travels and visits to Mexico, a country continually putting its culinary identity on the map.

Is there a must-try dish on the menu?

I highly recommend trying our prawn quesadilla and crab tostada. Additionally, our bestselling dish is the braised short rib in smoky adobo for those craving a larger plate.

Is there a dish on the menu that you’re particularly proud of?

I take great pride in our dessert offerings. Creating a dessert menu has been a personal challenge, and it reflects the sweets I’ve cherished since childhood.

Ixchel offers diners a beautiful and welcoming atmosphere
Ixchel offers diners a beautiful and welcoming atmosphere

What would you like Londoners to know more about Mexican cuisine?

I wish to educate Londoners on the intricate effort behind Mexican food, from grinding and cooking corn to shaping it into beloved staples like tortillas, gorditas and chalupas. There is so much more to Mexican cuisine than the commonly known dishes, and countless varieties of dried and fresh chilies. They bring diverse flavours and levels of spiciness to our dishes, adding depth and character.

What ingredient could you not live without and why?

Lime is an absolute essential for me, not a drop of it goes to waste!

Have you ever faced doubt or uncertainty in your abilities throughout your successful career, especially in light of recent challenges?

After the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality industry, understanding the mindset and priorities of professionals and new generations has been challenging. I am currently adapting to this new landscape and learning from it.

"I take great pride in our dessert offerings. It reflects the sweets I've cherished since childhood."
“I take great pride in our dessert offerings. It reflects the sweets I’ve cherished since childhood.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career and why?

I’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of valuable advice throughout my career. However, a phrase that consistently resonates with me in difficult times is “pies en la tierra y cabeza fría”, which means “feet on the ground and a cool head”.

What’s next for Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez?

My goal is to elevate Ixchel to become one of the premier Mexican restaurants in London and throughout Europe. I also aspire to collaborate with chefs I admire from around the world.