Five Years After Miguel Ravago's Death, Fonda San Miguel Names New Chefs

Blanca Zesati and Carlos Monroy tasked with expanding classic menu

Blanca Zesati and Carlos Monroy (photos by Jane Yun)

It’s Cinco de Mayo, the day in which we observe – kind of – the battle in which Benito Juarez and the Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla. It’s also the day in which, 160 years later, Fonda San Miguel announces its new chef(s).

The head chef position at Fonda has remained empty since chef and co-founder Miguel Ravago died of lung cancer in June 2017.

“No one could ever replace Miguel,” said Tom Gilliland, co-founder and owner of Fonda San Miguel. “He wore many hats and filled multiple kitchen roles in a way only he was capable of. It felt right to hire not one, but two skilled chefs to carry on his legacy.”

The two chefs tapped to step into Ravago’s considerable shoes and carry on the storied Fonda legacy are Carlos Monroy and Blanca Zesati. Monroy, a native of Mexico City, was formally trained at the Colegio Superior de Gastronomia, specializing in regional Mexican cuisine. He’s a pan dulce expert and, in his role as chef for a Mexico-based catering company, has cooked for international celebrities like Shakira and Paul McCartney.

Chicago native Zesati, most recently of Miraval Resort & Spa here in Austin, specializes in developing meals for folks with dietary restrictions and preferences. She’s described as an “expert ingredient curator,” and will bring that expertise to bear within the context of Mexican cuisine and ingredients.

Their first order of business, a mandate from their boss, is to expand Fonda’s menu (while retaining its classic favorites) in order to make it more accessible and approachable.

This infusion of fresh talent and perspective in the kitchen at Fonda San Miguel is an exciting development, and we’re excited to see the iconic Mexican restaurant continue its reputation for excellence and innovation.

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Fonda San Miguel, Carlos Monroy, Blanca Zesati, Miguel Ravago, Tom Gilliland

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