Regina Escalante Bush was born August 29, 1988 in Mérida, Yucatan to a Yucatecan father and American mother who has lived in Mérida for more than thirty years. Her mother had a fundamental role in Regina´s development and professional formation having transmitted her love of the kitchen to her from a very young age. She started her professional career at seventeen when she traveled to Portland, Maine in the United States to work beside the Chef Cheryl Lewis in order to learn classic kitchen techniques and discover local ingredients.
Later, Regina embarked to Lyon, France to study at the Paul Bocuse Institute where she obtained a certification in culinary arts and an international bachelors degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. Her outstanding academic achievement made her eligible to carry out her internships beside some of the finest chefs in the world in restaurants of Michelin star ratings such as ¨La Table de Lancaster¨ where she worked under Chef Julien Rocheteau, ¨Hotel de Crillon¨ under Chef Christopher Hache in Paris and the restaurant ¨Le Petit Nice¨ under Chef Gerald Passedat in Marseille. She also worked with Chef Cyril Lignac in ¨Le Quinzieme¨ in Paris. Her love for her country and her native city influenced Regina to return to Mérida in 2013 where she worked with Chef Roberto Solis in ¨Nectar¨. After working in Nectar, Regina and her partner Vincent Ros decided it was the moment to put the techniques and knowledge they had acquired during their professional careers together and open their own restaurant, Merci, where she is the executive chef.
¨Merci¨ opened its doors to the public on March 1, 2014, in Mérida offering breakfast and lunch using fresh local produce with seasonal menu changes. The directive of the restaurant is that all preparations be done in house and upon being ordered to offer the best dishes to the guest. Such was Merci’s success that in December of 2015 the restaurant expanded to double its capacity. Merci currently sits 54 people as they seek to maintain what has been their distinction since the first day—personalized attention to clients and dishes of the highest quality served under the strict and absolute supervision of Chef Regina Escalante.
Chef Escalante participated in the elaboration of the Larousse book ¨Great Mexican Cooks: celebrating their roots¨ by contributing five original recipes. The book is a collective effort of twenty-two chefs from around the country. Today ¨Merci¨ belongs to the worldwide non-profit organization Slow Food, and Escalante Bush is an active member of the Slow Food Chefs Alliance. In October 2018 Regina participated in a segment of the taping of the documentary-series based on the writer/cook Samin Nosrat´s bestseller SALT FAT ACID HEAT that was broadcast on Netflix. Regina promoted the cuisine of the Yucatan through a tour of the Lucas de Galvez market and the elaboration of three recipes: Tikin Xic, sopa de lima and a dessert inspired by the classic pavlova.
Merci opened its second branch April 16th, in downtown Mérida.