Mexico food truck promoting Canadian cuisine

Agriculture Canada is teaming up with a Mexican celebrity chef to promote Canadian cuisine in Mexico City with a three-week pilot project that includes poutine, lentil salad, tourtière and tuna.

Canadian government funding program to sell more beef, other cuisine in Mexico

Jorge Valencia, left, and José Carlos Redo are teaming up to run a food truck in Mexico serving Canadian cuisine with a Mexican touch. (Photo courtesy of Agriculture Canada)

The federal government is pushing Canadian cuisine in Mexico to help boost its export of products like beef, introducing a new food truck run by a Mexican celebrity chef.

Agriculture Canada promotes the "Canada Brand," which they advertise as helping foreign businesses stand out with Canadian products.

The program is a branding strategy to "gain recognition for Canadian food and agriculture products in key markets."

A new food truck opened in Mexico City on April 10 paid for by the Canadian goverment and offering "Canadian" meals. It is owned and operated by Mexican chef José Carlos Redon with the help of celebrity chef Jorge Valencia.

The truck, which is setting up shop in various neighbourhoods, is a three-week pilot project for the Canada Brand, which is part of the larger economic action plan.

The truck plans to close on April 28 but if it is successful, the Canadian government could have it participate in other events in Mexico City.

'Poutine a la Mexicana'

Valencia joined CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Friday to discuss the new business. He told host Robyn Bresnahan the most popular dish is "Poutine a la Mexicana," which is similar to poutine served in Canada.

The only difference is Oaxaca cheese, said Valencia, a semihard white cheese from Mexico, which Valencia said tastes similar to white cheese curds in Canada. The fries are from the Canadian company, McCain.

The truck is also selling lentil salad, tourtière stuffed with Canadian beef and pork and grilled Albacore tuna with a maple glaze.

"With time, we're getting to know all the products," he said.

"It's really well known that Canadian pork, it's the best, and also your beef, you're the No. 1 producer of beef in the world."

Pork, beef among well known Canadian products

Besides pork and beef, Valencia mentioned maple syrup as another well-known product from Canada, as well as canola oil and lentils.

Valencia was recently part of a Discovery Channel series called Top 5 Canadian Meals. He said that's where he learned about Canadian food.

This food truck runs in Mexico City, Mexico, serving such dishes as Poutine a la Mexicana. (Photo courtesy of Agriculture Canada)

He believes the business will work because Mexican people enjoy trying new things.

"These kind of people that is trying this food, we're looking in Mexico for new experiences, you know, so we love to try new things and delicious things," he said.

Recent visit to Mexico

Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz recently finished a "successful agricultural mission" to Mexico with a focus on resolving the market access for Canadian beef from animals older than 30 months of age.

He also met with many businesses in Mexico from the cattle sector.

Mexico is Canada’s fourth largest export customer for agricultural products and an important economic partner, according to Agriculture Canada.

In 2012, Canada exported $1.8 billion worth of agricultural products to Mexico, making it the second-largest supplier after the U.S.