The Culinary Institute of America will host its second annual Latin Cuisine Summit next month to continue its efforts to advance the future of Latin American chefs and Latin-rooted flavors. Hosted by the Center for Foods of the Americas on CIA’s San Antonio campus, the two-day conference on Oct. 27 and 28 will highlight the southern region of South America known as el Sur with a focus on the cuisine and wines of Chile and Argentina.
“These are two countries that geographically share a very important area of the continent. They have a very unique gastronomy,” Director of Latin Studies Sergio Remolina said.
“There is often a misunderstanding of Latin cuisine. People say ‘Latin cuisine is all the same,’ but it’s not. When you talk about Argentinian or Chilean cuisine and you compare Argentinian cuisine to Mexican cuisine, for example, it’s like comparing Greek cuisine with Portuguese cuisine — it’s completely different,” he said.
The Center for Foods of the Americas’ goal with the annual summit is to eventually highlight every Latin American region and educate the public about each country’s traditional cuisine and its current culinary and agricultural trends, Remolina said. The inaugural Latin Cuisine Summit held last year focused on the border region between the US and Mexico, with presentations ranging in topic from Mexican wines to how Mexican cuisine can satisfy millennial consumers’ desire for a social dining experience.
This year’s events will include culinary demonstrations, ingredient tastings and presentations from chefs and Latin cuisine experts including Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer and food writer Isidora Diaz Fernandez. The CIA expects about 150 people to attend.
Culinary demonstrations at the summit will focus on typical Argentine and Chilean foods and techniques, explaining their origins and how operators can integrate the foods into their menus.The lineup includes sessions dedicated to Chilean coastal cuisine, the Argentinian asado style of grilling and alfajores — sweet cookies commonly filled with dulce de leche.
”What we’re featuring in these sessions are some of the most iconic foods and techniques from these countries. For example, in terms of the asado, what we want to showcase is the difference between grilling in South America and how people grill here in the States. What cuts they use, how they treat them, how they build the fire…and the end product,” Remolina said.
Argentina and Chile are South America’s most famous producers of wine, and the summit will include sessions dedicated to the wines of each country.
“Wine plays a very important role in [Argentina and Chile’s] gastronomy. They are very European influenced, so that makes wine a fundamental part of the diet and the culture,” Remolina said.
While most sessions at the summit will be lectures, the first day of the conference will conclude with an ideation session in which attendees will lend a hand as chefs prepare a family-style meal.
“Our guest chefs will take the attendees through all the foods and the techniques, and at the end we will do a family meal where we will share all the dishes,” Remolina said. “I think that is going to be a nice session.”
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