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Elite company: Houston chef put in the same class with Rick Bayless & Patricia Quintana

Saveur, Hugo Ortega, sauces
Courtesy of Saveur
Saveur, Hugo Ortega, July 2012, cover
Courtesy of Saveur
My Houston campaign, July 2012, Hugo Ortega
Photo by Sarah Rufca
Hugo Ortega, cookbook, cover
Photo by Penny de los Santos

Saveur's beautiful August issue devoted to Mexico is truly a feast to behold —we don't recommend looking at it before lunch. 

The magazine doesn't hit newsstands until July 31, but we snagged a sneak preview and Houston's Hugo Ortega, who was raised in Puebla, is featured throughout the issue.

It's a great boost for Ortega, whose cookbook Street Food of Mexico will be released officially on Sept. 17 (though you can already get signed copies at Hugo's and via the restaurant website). Between the book —which Saveur  names as one of six "essential Mexican cookbooks" alongside tomes by Rick Bayless, Patricia Quintana and the 65-year-old cookbook by Josefina Velázquez de León that started it all — and Ortega's recent James Beard nomination, it's fair to say that Hugo's star in the resurgent Latin culinary circle is rising well beyond Houston.

In Saveur, Hugo contributes a full-page ode to the central role of salsa in Mexico's cuisine. "It's more than just a condiment for anointing tacos, drizzling into soups, and spooning onto eggs, grilled fish and roast meats — salsa adds a sense of place to everything it touches," he writes.

Ortega's visage also pops up to give advice on how to peel walnuts and char fresh ingredients. His brother Ruben Ortega, the pastry chef at Hugo's, also gets some publicity, contributing a recipe for churros con chocolate caliente and explaining how to properly fry churros.

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