Many might know him better by his food and his restaurant than by his name. Roberto Alcocer is the chef and owner of Malva Cocina de Baja California, located in the heart of the Mina Penélope winery in Ensenada, Mexico. Yet he's not just another Baja chef—irreverent, bold, and unapologetic, he doesn’t mince words, he wants it all and goes for it.
Alcocer was born in Mexico D.F. and raised in Ensenada where he runs his one-year-old restaurant. And though it hasn’t been long since it opened its doors, customers are raving about its food.
“I am so thankful for that," Alcocer said. "Obviously it creates an expectation and we need to keep building from those high standards. We do our best to make it delicious, the proof is clear: people love it.”
While the restaurant may still be in its infancy, Alcocer has been working towards this delicious dream since he started his culinary career at the age of 17 in France.
“I always wanted to be chef," Alcocer said. "It was the food, smells, tastes, colors. I was a very greedy kid. I wanted to marry a cow to always have cheese, milk, and cream."
When he realized that that wasn’t possible, he thought, “marrying a girl who could cook would do it too.”
Finally, one day, he concluded that he didn’t need to marry someone to eat well. “I could actually do that myself," Alcocer said. "That’s how I got inspired in becoming a chef and embracing this path.”
And embrace the path he did. After stages in France and Spain (including one with acclaimed Spanish chef Sergi Arola), Alcocer returned home and immersed himself in Mexican cooking, working at both top ranked Condesa and Pujol restaurants. Then in 2013, he decided to set out on his own.
Next, Alcocer opens Malva...