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Nacho Cadena is a celebrity in Vallarta for his charismatic personality and active cultural and social life. He claims to follow the sun, and this is no flippant remark, but his inspired way of saying he lives the moment.
 
However, there are things in life one never forgets and which last a lifetime. Nacho Cadena has always cherished his passion for cooking, which brings memories of his home, where meals were a ritual of delights.
 
His mother was a learned French woman and brought to her home the excellence of subtle tastes and intellectual insight. His father was a military doctor and quite a spirited man. He used to work form dawn to dark, but after that there was still some time left to look after his gardening and rose bed, to fish, to hunt, and to make up a thousand and one variations of his inventions.
 
Nacho has a vivid memory of his father galloping through the dessert of Sonora to assist his patients, and, perhaps, his son inherited his extraordinary energy. Nacho Cadena is a restaurant owner, a dedicated columnist, a poet by day and, to top it all amid verses, rhymes and metaphors, he still has time to participate in a radio program.
 
Besides his intellectual concerns, creative interests and many recipes, he devotes a lot of effort to others by promoting culture and organizing social activities to provide enlightening social entertainment. He is also responsible for bringing the Alianza Francesa the cultural scene of Vallarta, which has made French language skills available for many young Mexican students.
 
Though he comes from the desert, Nacho Cadena came to the most fertile land to live at one with the sea. He vividly remembers the day his father took him to their first rendez-vous. They left inland Hermosillo to enjoy an exciting day with Indians, horses and pirouettes, and there, sitting by the shore, he saw the ocean's smiling gloss.
 
This childhood vision crystallized in Vallarta and mesmerized his poetic imagery, as he speaks of the sea and goes beyond the deep motions of the ocean to the wonders of the stars with telescopic and philanthropic ingenuity.
 
However, before coloring and voicing his images, he first learned to dream and to work hard. He speaks enthusiastically about his first years in Puerto Vallarta in the mid 70's, when he worked as a real estate developer in charge of major projects such as Los Tules, Fiesta Americana and Fiesta Condesa, which are a source of great satisfaction to this day.
 
His restaurant, La Petite France, he says is his little toy. He spends a lot of his time there because he can do a bit of everything. At times, he likes to play the boss or help the chef out, and he always has time to marvelously host and entertain his guests. In this, his little kingdom, all abide to La Chaîne de Rostisseurs, the international culinary board, where Nacho Cadena is a vice-counselor.
 
He says that cooking soothes his spirit and poetry stirs his mind, and for each temperament he has a small tête a téte. Up in the mezzanine, that middle floor that leads nowhere, guests talk of artistic wonders and admire the work of Toulouse Lautrec, though the owner claims he dreams with the yellows of Van Gogh.
 
In contrasts, on the ground floor guests rejoice to the wonders of food, wine and the company of good friends and an occasional merry toast to "Vive la France!"

Local Chef will Promote Puerto Vallarta on TV

Published Apr 28, 2010

Local chef and cultural ambassador Nacho Cadena will promote Puerto Vallarta in a new TV documentary series featuring 13 episodes to be broadcast in September on Mexico’s Channel 7, a subsidiary of the state of Jalisco’s Radio and Television System. Titled “El Sabor de la Vida” (The Flavor of Life) the show will be recorded in High Definition in hopes for international broadcast.

With over a year in preparation, Nacho Cadena emphasized that he will promote Puerto Vallarta through its cuisine and its people. The TV station is so enthusiastic about the production that it will produce a demo of El Sabor de la Vida and present it to Mexico's Educational and Cultural Television Committee with the intention to propose a series of 26 episodes in which the chef will visit different states of Mexico to talk about cooking through the country’s history.

La Petit: Farewell to a Decade

Published Nov 4, 2008, Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Fall/Winter 2008 issue.
 

“What satisfaction it gives me that La Petit is going out in a blaze of glory!” exclaimed chef Nacho Cadena, owner of the French restaurant that has been such an important part of local gastronomy for the past decade. This chef of French origin had always dreamed of having a restaurant like this, full of antiques, the perfect space to exhibit treasures such as his grandparents’ dishes and to hold cultural events.

Offering events from bohemian nights to homages to notable Vallartenses, La Petit was known for its good taste and attracted a faithful clientele seeking their favorite dish or the chef’s wise recommendation. Soon, the restaurant’s magic and charm gained widespread recognition, with special spaces such as Table 14, where important national figures in culture and politics dined. These spaces also were the work of Cadena, who decorated La Petit with paintings he designed, antique kitchen implements, Impressionist posters, an old icebox and even more memorable details — like Georgette, the mannequin who represents the perfect woman: no questions, no complaints and always dressed appropriately to fulfill her role as an excellent hostess.

Cadena received a number of emotional calls about closing La Petit, full of surprise and sadness at the loss of such an important place in our town. But Cadena is happy, guiding the youth in transforming the space into what will become La Leche, Almacén Gastronómico de Alfonso Cadena. This unique concept promises to leave its mark and become a worthy successor to its noteworthy predecessor.

Basque Gastronomy Featured at La Petite

Published Oct 24, 2007

The well known French restaurant La Petite is ready to participate in the next edition of Festival Gourmet hosting Spanish chef Borja Blázquez who has prepared a special program to showcase traditional flavors from his homeland. “I am very happy because my friend Nacho Cadena invited me as a guest chef to prepare a special service during the Festival Gourmet planned to be celebrated next November 8-18,” said Borja.

Borja Blázquez will give Mediterranean and Basque touches to his delicacies. “We are going to offer a tapas party, cooking classes, food tastings accompanied by music and Spanish folklore, and the big gala-dinner on November 10.” The Spanish chef fell in love with cooking since he was a child. He considers that the Basque gastronomy is nutritious thanks to the utilization of ingredients such as garlic and olive oil, along with sea, garden, and mountain products. This type of food belongs to the Basque culinary traditions in France and Spain.

Borja Blázquez currently hosts a gourmet channel TV show. For more information go to www.elgourmet.com