sábado, 10 de octubre de 2009

2nd CANIRAC Culinary Symposium

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Last year the State's Restaurant Chamber (CANIRAC) organized a culinary symposium focused on the "rescue and preservation of Northeastern Mexico's cuisine". Many of us were surprised to see that the seemingly simple cuisine of the northeast isn't shabby at all. True that we don't have the culinary complexity or popularity of the central and southern regions. But it's still worth taking a look into.

Last Wednesday, CANIRAC hosted their second edition of the symposium, and again, there was a fair share of great information to chew on.

The event kicked off with the early day being mostly about conferences, starting with Dr. Glafiro Alanís, from the State University's Faculty of Biology. His conference was a presentation of the edible plants available in Nuevo León, some of which were unknown to many of the assistants.

Eduardo Alvarado, host of the show "Reportajes de Alvarado" presented a recap of some of the show's moments highlighting the people of the state and their traditional foods. Asado de Puerco, Sweet Bean Paste, Beef Cortadillo and many other regional specialties were highlighted in them. After his presentation, CANIRAC presented Mr. Alvarado with a special recognition for the show's labor in the rescue and preservation of local culinary traditions.

Nina Mayagoitia, from Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma came up next and after a brief talk, gave way to Sommelier Humberto Falcón. Humberto talked about the company's premium brand: Bohemia, the characteristics of the different varieties, proper service for each and even pairing tips.

After a Short break, consultant Miguel Espejel took the stage and briefly gave us some pointers on Restaurant Marketing.

For the second part of the Symposium, we moved to the Museum of the Northeast's terrace for the cooking demos. Unfortunately, it was a bit hot last week so both Speaker Chefs and attendees were in a bit of an uncomfortable situation. The good part of this was that the demos were both entertaining and illustrating and more than made up for the weather.

First up, Saltillo's Juan Ramón Cárdenas shared one of his passions: Pecans. Being native of the region, pecans make up a pretty important part of our cuisine, particularly in the sweet side of it. Chef Cárdenas told us about how the Tlaxcaltecan women, finding themselves lacking avocado leaves to cook with, took upon the pecan tree for substitutes and proceeded to make a Pecan Tree leaf green mole. It was served over some pork rib carnitas... delicious! He also shared a quick way to make "Queso de Nuez", a local candy similar to Marzipan.

Chef Abdiel Cervantes was up next. Chef Cervantes has dedicated himself to promoting Mexico's culinary heritage both locally and internationally. He spoke to the many culinary students in the audience about the importance of discovering and mastering the local tradition. He also prepared a Prickly Pear Ceviche and a "Cactus Flan" flavored with saffron and served with a poblano sauce.

Last but definitely not least, Chefs Alberto Sentíes and Adrián Herrera took the stage and prepared a three course menu using flowers as ingredients. This was definitely one of the highlights of the day, as their contrasting culinary styles meshed together in some quite interesting dishes.

I was forgetting, there was one last, surprise demo held by Chef Rodolfo Onofre on fruit carving, unfortunately it was getting late and I had to go back to the restaurant to our regular Wednesday wine tasting.

Congratulations to CANIRAC and all the speakers for this second Symposium, our region definitely needs more efforts like this one.