A video conversation with Indigenous Chef Adán Medrano: ‘Cooking and food narrate who we are’

Chef Adán Medrano, Coahuiltecan, appears on an episode of ‘Gastro Obscura: Sparked’ to discuss family food traditions and the resilience of Indigenous people

Chef Adán Medrano, who is Coahuiltecan, says his earliest memories with his mother are in a kitchen that was a little chilly on a cold December day, and she was making him tortillas. He remembered the tortilla carts traveling up and down the streets and his mother giving him a warm tortilla she had sprinkled with water.

“I remember the roasted corn flavor, the aroma and the texture of the meal. But I also remember the performance of her giving it to me, feeding me. The mother feeding the child … that relationship. So to me, my identity is food … I believe that cooking and food narrate who we are,” says Medrano.

Medrano is appearing in a recently released video on demand project by Atlas Obscura, a popular travel company titled Gastro Obscura: Sparked. 

According to Atlas Obscura, “Sparked is an exploration of the foods, ingredients, recipes, and culinary places that open our eyes to a larger world. In each episode, the team meets a new, fascinating guest and asks them the same big question: what is the meal that rewired your brain, showed you that food was more than just fuel, and sparked your journey to become who you are today?”

Watch the Gastro Obscura: Sparked series trailer here

As written in the video trailer’s description:

Gastro Obscura’s series Sparked explores how one special bite can change an entire life. In every episode, our diverse roster of rotating guests—featuring chefs, food historians, scientists, artists, and other industry professionals—will take us on a journey in their kitchens. They’ll each answer the same question: What “Spark Food” rewired your brain, showed you that food was more than fuel, and kick-started the journey to become who you are today? Dig in to see which dishes, ingredients, recipes, and places sparked path-shifting culinary revelations.

One of the series episodes features Adán Medrano, an Indigenous food author, filmmaker and chef specializing in the Indigenous foods of Texas and the Americas. 

In the episode he talks about the importance of Indigenous foods and collects Quelitre, also known as amaranth, to prepare at a family gathering.

Watch the the interview with Chef Adán Medrano and Native Viewpoint editor Vincent Schilling

(Close captions are available)

Disclaimer/warning: You will get hungry watching this video

Watch the Gastro Obscura: Sparked episode with Chef Adán Medrano here:


Chef Adán Medrano’s website:


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