In Mérida, discover the plant food culture of the Maya

What's most striking about Yucatan is how connected the everyday person is to where their food comes from. The pride they have in their cooking traditions, the casual ease with which they detail family recipes, the widespread knowledge of growing seasons and indigenous plants.

Erin Gomez Danielson, Merida Lead
pink dragonfruit with golden tips
Pitahaya, native to Yucatán

Fall/Winter Class Series - reserve your space now!

Cook Plant Foods of the Yucatán Every Day!

3-class series on consecutive Tuesdays.
Sessions begin: Oct 8 / Nov 5 / Dec 3 / Jan 7

Celebrate regional fruits, vegetable and herbs of Yucatán, by learning how to integrate them into your daily diet.

Under Erin’s guidance, explore new ingredients and prepare them in different ways. Rather than relying on recipes, this class will focus on techniques, gaining confidence in experimentation and –of course– enjoying the delicious ‘fruits’ of your labor! 

Women learn how to use tortilla press at a cooking class in Merida, Yucatan

Single classes as space permits

EACH CLASS 3.5-4 Hrs

More workshops and tours

Mérida Community

Erin Gómez Danielson

Mérida Lead

Erin Gómez Danielson

I was born and raised in the foodie Mecca of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and am a certified Natural Chef with ten years experience in professional kitchens. What I most love about living here in Merida is how integral food is to the culture and how willing locals are to share it with everyone who visits.

My Merida-born and bred husband and I moved back to his home city in 2014 and we now have two young children. I’ve spent the last four years learning about Merida, Yucatán and Mexico from everyone I meet here; be it what food to bring to a party, how to properly fry masa for panuchos, or how to drink your cerveza like a local.

I’m honored to collaborate with Frutas y Verduras Mexico in creating a tour that brings the proud plant food heritage of this region to a wider audience.

Susi Noh Un

Teacher: Corn to Comal

Susi Noh Un

Susi is from the community of Sacalaca, Quintana Roo. She grew up harvesting food from their traditional milpa farm: corn, chiles, squash, greens and fruits.

In Susi’s own words, translated by Erin:

My life has always been with the Mayan culture of the pueblo. Making homemade, natural food, because we don’t use things with a lot of preservatives. We prepare everything “al instante,” above all, the tortillas, the daily meal. I learned from my grandparents, from my father. This culture is so worthy of being remembered, and I love the traditions so much. So I will continue to work and share with people who don’t know what it is, la cultura maya. Making food from scratch is beautiful and I remember what my mother said to me, “if you make tamales, make them well.” And I will teach my children the same.

We are honored to have Susi as a collaborator. Her warmth and wit require no translation.

Travelling solo, as a larger group, or on a research mission?
We welcome your requests

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John Doe
Designer

Our Instagram Updates

#fyvmerida

This picture was taken in November 2019, after plating the dessert course with my Cooking Plant Foods of Yucatan students. I think my joy is apparent. Joy in teaching. Joy in sharing my adopted home with visitors. Joy in connection with others. Joy in welcoming strangers into my home and saying farewell as friends.
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I feel grief for the loss of this joy, for the life that was finally starting to feel like mine, after 6 years on foreign soil. The day this picture was taken feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago. I am grateful for my health, my home, my friends and family, of course. But we all lost something. And we all are figuring how to navigate our new reality.
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So I found a way to chase that joy, and in doing so am making connections I never would have made had my path remained uninterrupted. Instead of teaching cooking classes in my home in my corner of the world, I'm teaching people in their homes, in France, Bulgaria, Mexico City, Toronto, Oakland. It's not the same, but it is joy, and I'll take that.
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#quarantinethoughts #quarantinelife #cookingclass #cheflife #newlife #newreality #plantbasedchef #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedfoodie
#yucatecanflavors #onlinecookingclasses #virtualclassroom #virtualtravel #zoomcookingclass #zoomtravel #womencooking #womanownedbusiness #selfemployed #selflove #selfawareness #eatplants #eatmostlyplants #cookingathome #cookingwithplants #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmerida
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These Pepino Kat Taquitos I made today (with fyvmexico on Facebook Live) came out even better than I imagined! Keep an eye out here and in my stories for more Live cooking demos using Yucatecan plant foods in the future.
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I thought about this use for my Pepino Kat Picadillo back in February when they were plentiful and hadn't had a chance to make it until now. I filled the fresh tortillas and toasted them up right on the comal, topped them with chiltomate (charred tomato + habanero + garlic + sour orange + cilantro) and a bit of raw radish. Seriously good.
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Pepino Kat is a tree fruit that behaves like a vegetable. The fruit grows directly from the trunk, similar to Cacao pods, which is why it is known in other places as Cacao de Mono. It is also called Cuajilote, from the Nahuatl, which means "tree corn," owing to its elongated, ribbed appearance. It is native to Mexico and Northern Central America. It's not particularly popular for eating around here, but is said to have medicinal qualities, especially for kidney problems. In fact, the fruit, leaves and bark are widely used for animal feed. When cooked, I think it tastes like roasted eggplant with a hint of raisin, and it makes a great filling for taquitos!
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#tropicalfruit #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedchef #plantfood #veganfood #veganfoodie #travelfoodie #yucatecanflavors #eatplants #eatmostlyplants #eatlocal #eatlocalgrown #pepinokat #cuajilote #treecorn #taquitos #taquitothursday #zoomcookingclass #onlinecookingclasses #virtualclassroom #virtualtravel #learnbydoing #learnbyeating #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmex #fyvmerida
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We made some pretty technicolored Salbutes in our Brunch Cook-Along today! Fried masa+ Espelon Hummus+ Carrot Escabeche+ Pickled Red Beets+ Tomato & Avocado equals a delicious plant-based take on a Yucatecan classic. Bright pink pickled onion and habanero optional.
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You too can join in on these culinary love letters to Yucatan and learn how to take inspiration from its unique food and culture in your own cooking with your own local plant foods. Every Sunday @ 11 Central Time. Registration for each week starts the Tuesday before. Check out what we have lined up by following the Link in my Bio. Pay what you can, 20% of donations go to communities in need in Mexico. Cocina conmigo!
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#cookingclass #cookinglocal #zoomcooking #cookalong #virtualclassroom #virtualtravel #plantbasedfoods #plantfood #plantbasedcooking #plantbasedchef #eatmostlyplants #eatlocalplants #eatmoreplants #travelfoodie #foodietravel #yucatecanfood #yucatecanflavors #learnbydoing #learnbyeating #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmex #fyvmerida
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Under the Influence of Yucatan Plant Based #zoomcookingclass is back! Join me and fyvmexico this Friday 11 September at 5:30 Pacific/ 8:30 Central for our Hora Feliz (Happy Hour!) exploring Yucatecan flavors you can cook at home and celebrating my adopted city of Merida. You can cook along or bring a beer and just hang out. Keep reading to see what I will be making!
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Tomato + Cilantro + Toasted Squash Seeds. Sikil Pak couldn't be more simple or more delicious. This protein rich dip has its origins with the pre-hispanic Maya for whom Farm to Table, or desde la Milpa a la Mesa, was a way of life. Tomatoes and squash were two of the very first domesticated crops in the Americas, and squash seeds, or pepita, continue to be a staple in the Yucatecan diet to this day. The simple, earthy flavors of this dip will win you over, I'm sure of it.
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This Friday evening, I will be showing you how to make Sikil Pak, as well as Chiltomate, a charred tomato and chile salsa, plus fresh tortilla chips and fancy veg for dipping. We will also make a few beverages that lend themselves well to being made boozy. Check the link in my bio to read more and register for the Zoom call. Connect with fellow travelers and get a taste of Yucatan without leaving your kitchen!
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#cookalong #cookingclass #cookingathome #plantbasedfoods #plantbased #plantbasedchef #milpa #milpatomesa #happyhour #zoomhappyhour #zoomtravel #virtualtravel #learnbydoing #learnbyeating #sikilpak #pepita #homemade #casero #fromscratch #veganfoodie #travelfoodie #merida #meridayucatan #yucatecanflavors #yucatecanfood #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmerida #fyvmex
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Missing travel and connection and learning about food in a place not your own? You CAN have a bit of those things and contribute much-needed support to communities in Yucatan who have been deeply affected by recent flooding, while social distancing protocols persist. Keep reading to find out how!
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This Sunday, June 14 (12 noon Central, 10 Pacific) join me and fyvmexico for a Zoom class making a version of Polcanes, my favorite vegan Yucatecan snack, using ingredients you can find where you live! This was the first recipe my friend Susi Noh Un generously taught me, and one which we were able to share with many others over the last going on 2 years in our Corn to Comal class. I'm honored to be able to share it in a new way, and support my local community doing it
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Comment or send me a DM if you would like to join in and cook along (or just hang out). You will learn, you will eat, you will have fun! I hope to see you! .
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#cookinglocal #cookingclass #cookingwithplants #eatlocal #eatlocalplants #eatmostlyplants #eatmoreplants #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedchef #plantbasedfoodie #yucatecanflavors #yucatecanfood #polcanes #quarantinecooking #virtualclassroom #covid19support #tropicalstormcristobal #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmex #fyvmerida
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Enjoying a refreshing Horchata Casera (just rice, cinnamon, water and sugar!) after our Cook Along this afternoon (we also made tacos with charred summer root veggies and spicy pumpkin seed crema).
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With coronavirus keeping tourism to an absolute minimum in Merida, the vacation rental we usually manage is being repurposed as my studio kitchen for Zoom cooking classes! This whole situation is less than ideal, but I'm making the most of it. Kinda like how horchata makes the most of humble white rice
🍚🥛🇲🇽 Join us next week for another shared cooking experience inspired by Yucatan. Pay What you Can, share of donations go to communities in need in MX. Link in biooooooo.
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#cookingclass #cookinglocal #cookingwithplants #cookalong #virtualclassroom #virtualtravel #visitavirtual #zoomcooking #zoomtravel #eatmostlyplants #eatmoreplants #eatlocalplants #veganfoodie #travelfoodie #interactivelearning #learnbyeating #learnbydoing #yucatecanflavors #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedtacos #plantbasedchef #horchata #fromscratch #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmex #fyvmerida
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Cook along with me and fyvmexico this Sunday 16 August for our latest plant-based #zoomcookingclass 🍅🌶️🥒🥔🍊🍋
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I will be making Tortitas de Papa y Calabacita (Potato and Summer Squash Fritters) with Papaya X'nipek (Yucatecan Pico de Gallo) and a delightful salad of local greens, herbs and flowers (some foraged, like the purslane that volunteers in my garden and maybe yours too) with a Papaya Citronette. If papaya doesn't grow where you live, stone fruits like peaches, apricots and plums make a great substitute!
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Class begins at 11 Central time. Follow the link in bio to see the shopping list and register for the Zoom call to celebrate the fresh produce of late summer in a Yucatecan inspired way!
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#tortitas #fritters #potato #squash #papaya #purslane #verdolagas #foragedfood #backyardphotography #cookingwithplants #cookingathome #cookalong #cookingclass #zoomcookingclass #eatmostlyplants #vegetarianfood #healthyfood #madefromscratch #madefromplants #yucatecanflavors #yucatecanfood #plantbasedfoodie #plantbasedchef #summerveggies #virtualclassroom #learnbydoing #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #fyvmerida
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Just ogling my ingredients for tomorrow's Cook Along. Clockwise from top left: Saramuyo, Chile Habanero, Íbes Verdes, Aguacate, Chile Xcatic, Calabasa Local, Chile Dulce, Pepita Menuda, and long skinny Cebollina across the middle. The bounty of this region is a thing of beauty. You can experience it with me every Sunday morning. Link in bio!
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#cookingclass #cookinglocal #cookingwithplants #cookalong #virtualtravel #virtualclassroom #zoomcooking #sundaymorningvibes #sundaybrunch #eatmostlyplants #eatlocalplants #eatmoreplants #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedchef #plantsofinstagram #yucatecanfood #yucatecanflavors #chilesyucatecos #veganfoodie #veganfood #travelfoodie #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatanmexico #yucatan #fyvmerida
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Just a little recipe testing for this Sunday's Cook Along with fyvmexico. I will be making Charred Summer Root Vegetable Tacos (think crunchy radishes and turnips) with a spicy Pepita Crema, Black Beans and Pickled Onions. These are vegan, using char to add a deep flavor, reminiscent of foods cooked in a pit or directly in the hot coals of a fire, a common cooking technique in Yucatan. We will also be making Horchata Casera (that means Homemade- not from a concentrate), the ever present taqueria beverage.
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These Sunday Brunch Cook Alongs are deeply inspired by my adopted home of Merida, Yucatan. I use the local plant foods and the knowledge generously shared with me about cooking methods, family recipes, and obscure ingredients to create dishes influenced by this place and its traditions while reflecting my personal style as a chef. I am humbled by the vast wisdom of the cooks, farmers and produce vendors I have met here, some of whom I am honored to call my friends.
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It is always my goal in my classes to use food as a way to share the Yucatan that I know with others. I am always seeking to learn more and to inspire residents and visitors to support local vendors selling and cooking with the plant foods of this region. With these virtual classes, I hope my commitment to eating and shopping local inspires you to do the same where you live, and your donations from the class are being shared with people in need in my community so you can still make an impact here from afar. I hope you'll join in this Sunday or soon! You can find more info using the link in my bio about the menu and registration for the zoom call. You can also see what I've got lined up for next week. Hasta pronto!
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#cookinglocal #cookalong #cookingclass #cookingwithplants #zoomcooking #zoomtravel #eatlocal #eatmoreplants #eatmostlyplants #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedchef #tacos #plantbasedtacos #vegantacos #veganfoodie #plantbasedfoodie #pepita #maiz #milpa #inspiredbyyucatan #yucatecanfood #yucatecanflavors #localfoods #localgrown #merida #meridayucatan #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmex #fyvmerida
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The salad I made while chatting with fyvmexico this morning on Instagram live. Ataulfo mango, cucumber, shaved carrot and cilantro, dressed with a garlicky ciruela-lime vinaigrette
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Watch my feed for upcoming live chats about cooking with local plants in Yucatan, or being inspired wherever you are to cook with what is fresh and available. Hasta pronto! .
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#cookinglocal #chattingaboutplants #plantbasedfoods #plantbasedchef #cookingwithplants #yucatecanflavors #yucatecanfood #quarantinecooking #adapting #newnormal #eatmostlyplants #eatmoreplants #eatlocalplants #mango #cucumber #carrots #cilantro #ciruela #salad #stayhome #staysafe #quédateencasa #merida #meridayucatan #meridamexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #fyvmex #fyvmerida
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