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We all strive to be healthy, be happy, to feel community and family, and some type of connection to your purpose. In the flats off the Southern Yucatán peninsula, Eduardo gets a lesson from world class fly guides Hilary Hutcheson, Oliver White, and from the folks at the lodge in all of the above. Thumbnail photo by Yogesh Simpson

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- [Eduardo] My name is Eduardo Garcia, I'm a professional chef, avid hunter, fisherman and wild foods forager. A few years ago, I nearly lost my life doing what I love. Since then, I've doubled down on my mission, to make food an integral part of every adventure. This is my hungry life. My first job as a yacht chef, fresh out of culinary school, I traveled a lot. You're going to pick something up from everybody. Hilary and Oliver both, are world class, well, well traveled fishermen. But this is really one of my first salt water trips. It adds to that layer of adventure when I'm not always the one sharing and showing, but saying, "I want to learn from you." - You know, my dad's a fourth generation fisherman from just up the coast, so, there's a comfort I feel here with the people. The smells, the food, the flavors, it's like getting a hug when I come back down here. - [Hilary] What are they? - [Eduardo] Sour orange, they're super bitter and sour like a lime almost. - We used it in the Bahamas for like Cobb salad, and stuff that you can't buy in America. - Can you hold it? - Yeah. - You need a few days? - Yeah. - Woo! Straight habanero? - Yeah. Throw it in. - [Eduardo] You can tell it's packing major heat. Flats fishing, the focus is on kind of the big four Bone fish, Permit, Tarpon, and Snook. - [Oliver] Your Permit will probably be pinnacle for a salt water fly fisherman. - [Eduardo] The tradition down here is that when you catch your first Permit, if you catch your first Permit, you eat a scorpion. - [Hilary] For me, coming down for a Permit is a little bit of unfinished business. I've tried before, I made a lot of mistakes, I can just see and feel it happening. You've got it! It's following, following, following, and then, bam! The wrong species comes out and smacks the fly in the face. There's fish on it, when I try to pick it up, Snapper or Jack or something. - [Oliver] You can do everything right a hundred times in a row, and it's just not good enough. It's probably the only fish in the world that every single fly fisherman can tell you how many, to the number, that they have caught. - [Eduardo] There was this sunken tree and we could see fish under it. - I figured my chances are slim to none, and I must have done something right. We just got a Permit in the boat. Wow, . - [Oliver] Part of fly fishing is you have chosen to hamper yourself because it's more about the process than the catching. If you were fishing truly to catch, you probably wouldn't be a fly fisherman. The casting itself is very methodical and relaxing, you get into this great rhythm. It requires just enough thought to kind of take your mind away from everything else, but not so much that it's taxing. - [Hilary] I came away without a Permit, but now I'm doing things that I've never been able to do before. As a fly fisherman, you know, I don't prepare a lot of fish, because where I work it's catch and release. And we're fishing for a native, protected species. - [Oliver] You balance the general ethos of a catch and release mentality with trying to put something in the cooler. We actually found some pretty good Barracuda fish. - Oliver - [Eduardo] D was too far away to reach for the fly rod, It took it, it took it, he took ours. I mean that's how they eat, they're fast, they swim to the edge and they dart in. Let's load them up and do some steaks, some ceviche. You know, I make it a point to try to surround myself with passionate people. These are the sweet ones, man. - [Oliver] Yeah, that's the right size. - [Eduardo] They love what they do, they love sharing it. - Can you eat that? - Yeah - Right now? - mm-hmm - It's yummy. That makes them fun to be around. Tastes like butter. - We normally cook it. - [Eduardo] Super tender and soft so we're going to cook those in butter and garlic. - [Hilary] For somebody like me who loves outdoor activities, it seems like I'm missing this piece of food. - Doesn't that smell great? - [Hilary] Yeah it's amazing. - [Eduardo] Hibiscus flower, so if you've been in Mexico and you've had Agua Fresca, they called it hi-may-ca. - [Hilary] From the really wholesome aspect, gathering it locally, and fixing it, and sharing it. - [Eduardo] You're grabbing what you know every good Mexicana needs to grab. - One of my favorite dishes is fried Barracuda steaks with a ton of garlic. You make a super spicy habanero salsa. Smells super good. I'll throw It right in the bowl. - Oh nice, okay - I'll do one side nice and brown, flip it, do the other side nice and brown, then take the whole halved onions and whole tomatoes and throw them right on the grill. - [Hilary] Okay. - [Eduardo] Making a point to share a meal is my way of making sure there's that constant reminder. Just roughly cut them. That'll be the beginning of those pickled onions. This is important, this is stuff we can't forget to do. Set up a little bar. - Wait, wait, - [Oliver] That's not a sour orange? - [Eduardo] That's a mandarin man. - [Man] I can't believe a mandarin looks just like a sour orange. - Spicy - [Man] Okay, lobster. - [Eduardo] Yeah, look at that big ol' thing. And that's the soft shell one. - Oh yeah. - [Eduardo] One of the most exciting things for me will always be the meal in the day. Because the meal is the thing that holds the whole day. Lupe, the cook here at the lodge is going to show us how to make handmade tortillas. - [Hilary] I kind of was just thinking there would be this big meal we make at then end. But it's been this cumulative gathering of information that's been invaluable. - [Man] Is that your best one yet? - [Hilary] Don't pressure me! And I didn't expect that. I've never really learned how to identify some those smells and sights and colors. - I've baked them before, but always out of the peel, I've never actually cooked them in the peel. - [Hilary] It's just everything seemed a little bit more vibrant. Just knowing that we were going to be taking that food and doing something super cool with it. - [Hilary] That'll do it. - [Oliver] I don't think that's gonna help. - Yeah I like how he's gonna prepare it a little. - Yeah that's for your tequila shot. Thanks for putting me on that fish. - [Eduardo] It's a treat tonight to kind of turn the hospitality note on it's nose and say, "Hey invite your family, "bring all the guides out and let's just "cook a huge meal with all these fish "that we have caught and kept "throughout the last few days." We all exist on those same elemental needs and wants and desires, to be healthy, to be happy, to feel community, and family, and some type of connection with your purpose here. That's how you get invited back.