Patricia "Pati" Jinich (born March 30, 1972) is an award-winning Mexican-American chef, TV personality, cookbook author, and food writer. She is best known for her double Emmy- and double James Beard-nominated PBS television series Pati's Mexican Table. Her first cookbook, also Pati's Mexican Table, was published in March 2013 and her second cookbook, Mexican Today, was published in April 2016. Jinich is the resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, where she has run her Mexican-table live culinary program since 2007. She has appeared on The Today Show, The Chew, The Talk, CBS This Morning, The Home and Family Show, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and The Splendid Table among other media. Her food writing has appeared in The Washington Post. In May 2014, Jinich was invited to cook at the White House for President Barack Obama's Cinco de Mayo dinner.
Jinich was born and raised in Mexico City in a Jewish Mexican family, and is the youngest of four sisters. Her grandparents were Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe. Her father was an architect and a jeweler who turned restaurateur, and her mother ran an art gallery.
Food was always an important part of Jinich's family life growing up. Her three older sisters pursued the culinary arts early on, but Jinich grew up dreaming of a career in academia. She earned a political science bachelor's degree from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a master's degree in Latin-American studies from Georgetown University, and she worked as a political analyst at a Washington, DC, think tank before switching careers.
She met her husband, Daniel Jinich, who is also Mexican, on a blind date. They were married in Mexico City in 1996 when she was 24.
Jinich first began researching and cooking Mexican cuisine out of homesickness for her native Mexico City, when she moved to Dallas, Texas, with her husband. Soon, she was teaching Mexican cooking to friends and neighbors. At the same time, as she was writing her bachelor's thesis, she offered to help the Dallas public TV station with a documentary on the Mexican Revolution, but it needed help with another project: the PBS series New Tastes from Texas with Chef Stephan Pyles, for which she became a production assistant.
Two years later, she relocated to Washington, DC, with her husband and their first-born son, where she picked back up on her academic pursuits, earning her master's degree from Georgetown and landing her dream job" at a prestigious think tank. However, she never stopped obsessively thinking about food and enrolled at L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland.
Jinich envisioned herself writing articles about Mexican cuisine and teaching it in her home kitchen, until she met with the executive director of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, who encouraged her to bring her cooking program to the institute. In 2007, she launched her Mexican-table series of live cooking demonstrations along with multi-course tasting dinners, which she still runs today. The classes combine Jinich's skilled Mexican cooking with her knowledge of the country's history and regions. Each one explores a single topic—for example, dishes of the Mexican Revolution, a historical vanilla menu, or convent foods from colonial Mexico.
Around the same time, she started her blog about Mexican cuisine, which was followed by invitations to write about food for print publications and to give talks and cooking demos for radio and TV shows.
Jinich's charisma and intelligence caught the attention of television producers. After exploring different outlets, she decided Washington, DC's WETA-TV was the right home for Pati's Mexican Table because of her commitment to authenticity and the independence the PBS and public-TV platform allows over the content of its shows.
In Pati's Mexican Table, Jinich shares authentic Mexican cooking, along with Mexico's rich history and culture, her personal experiences and family life, and her ongoing conversations with cooks on both sides of the border. The series airs nationally in the United States on PBS and APT stations and on Create TV. It also airs in Southeast Asia on the Asian Food Channel.
Season 1 premiered in 2011, and Season 2 followed in 2012. The first two seasons were produced by the Cortez Brothers, a bilingual production company based in southern California, which Jinich chose because of its familiarity with Mexico and its culture.
Gordon Elliott, the Emmy-award-winning producer of ABC's The Chew and several Food Network programs and his team at Follow Productions signed on beginning with Season 3. Together with Jinich, they changed the show's format from a mostly kitchen-based cooking show to a combination travel and cooking show, featuring more footage of Pati in Mexico and more of her family life.
Season 3 first aired in 2014 and Season 4 in 2015. Season 5 began airing in Fall of 2016.
Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking
Jinich's first cookbook, Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March 2013. The book is based on the traditional Mexican home cooking with which Jinich grew up, with many recipes gleaned from her childhood in Mexico City. It made Amazon's "Best of the Year in Cookbooks" list of 2013, the Washington Post's "Best Cookbooks of 2013" list, The Splendid Table's "Staff Book Picks of 2013" list, and Serious Eats "Our Favorite Cookbooks of 2013" list.
Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens
Jinich's second cookbook, Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2016. Jinich explores both traditional and rediscovered Mexican dishes as well as reinterpretations and new takes using Mexican ingredients in this book. NPR's Maria Godoy said, "Mexican Today explores not just traditional fare but [also] the country's evolving cuisine and the many immigrant groups who have influenced it."
Jinich lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband Daniel Jinich and their three sons.
Awards and accolades
- Jinich was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Culinary Host (2016)
- Jinich and Pati's Mexican Table were nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Culinary Program (2016)
- Jinich was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Personality/Host (2016)
- Jinich and Pati's Mexican Table were nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Television Program in Studio or Fixed Location (2016)
- Jinich and Pati's Mexican Table won an Imagen Award for Best National Informational Program (2016)
- Jinich and Pati's Mexican Table won two consecutive Taste Awards for Best Ethnic Program (2016, 2015)
- Pati's Mexican Table was nominated for an Imagen Award for Best National Informational Program (2014)
- Pati's Mexican Table was nominated for an IACP Award for Best Culinary Series (2014)
- The cookbook Pati's Mexican Table was selected for the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best in the World List.
- Jinich cooked at the White House for President Obama's Cinco de Mayo Dinner (2014).
- Jinich was named to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's Kitchen Cabinet Board for the American Food History Project (2014).
- Jinich was named to the United Nations' Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Chefs Corps (2015)
- ^ The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, The 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Award Nominations
- ^ James Beard Foundation, The 2016 James Beard Award Nominees
- Imagen Foundation, "Winners of 31st Annual Imagen Awards Announced"
- The Taste Awards, 6th Annual Finalists
- The Taste Awards, 7th Annual Finalists and Honorees
- The Imagen Foundation, Nominees for the 29th Annual Imagen Awards Announced
- Eater, "IACP Announces 2014 Food Writing Finalists"
- Gourmand International, Gourmand Awards Winners 2013 Cookbook
- The National Museum of American History, "National Museum of American History Convenes Kitchen Cabinet"
- Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, "Chef Pati Jinich Joins Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Chef Corps"