Chefs to the Rescue

Mexico’s top chefs cook up a storm for charity

From Aztec sushi to tortilla jell-o, it was a gastronomic blast at the Salón de Eventos of Ambrosía, the city’s best culinary academy, this past Sunday afternoon. Guests wandered from table to table like they were all at a wedding, laboring over where to spend the five meal tickets allotted them. Would it be Mikel Alonso’s wonderfully odd “sopa de frijol con ceviche de camarón” poured over a “gelatina de tortilla”? Or Daniel Ovadía’s savory osso buco of lamb with the creamiest mashed potatoes I’ve had in a long time? Perhaps Casa Mexico’s fish tamal with recado negro served over cous cous with “espuma de mar” (what is in the foam, I asked…. “the sea” was chef Margarita Salinas’ reply).
For a third year, Chefs Al Rescate, a select group of Mexico’s best cooks have whipped up a mouthwatering dinner to benefit building projects in the poorest areas of Mexico; this time in support of indigenous weavers of Guerrero.
Star chef and TV personality Eduardo Osorno of Solea coordinated the project, which has continued to expand each year. It started in 2006, when a small group of like-minded volunteers raised $76,000 pesos to help a community on the Baja Coast that had been devastated by hurricane John. Chef Osuno explained that “what began as an effort to aid the Mulegé community, today has become a commitment by some of the best chefs in the country to work to support the most needy people in our nation”. Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward building of the Taller Textil Indígena MAS PRODUCE (Mas Produce textile workshop) in the mountainous region of Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest communities. Women in these tribes produce some of the most extraordinary hand woven and embroidered huipiles in the country and this building will provide a place for them to work, teach and sell their wares. Over 500 people and their families will benefit from this project. Organizers hope to surpass last year’s successful event, held at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, which brought in over $200,000 pesos to build kitchens and housing for migrant workers near the border.
Charitable events of this kind, so common in the United States, are still a novelty in Mexico, and this one, at $500 pesos per person (which included drinks and more than enough food) was generous and accessible to many.
In addition to the above mentioned chefs, others who contributed their food, time, and services are Mónica Patiño (Naos), Alejandro Kuri (La Casa de las Enchiladas), Daniel Ovadía (Paxia), Alejandro Martínez (Brássica), Christian Bravo (Hacienda Temozón) and José Ramón Castillo (of Qué Bo!, whose mole and tamarind filled chocolates surprised us all). The event was generously supported again this year by Philadelphia, the cream cheese folks, who provided samples to take home, but unfortunately, there were no bagels in sight.

For more information about Chefs Al Rescate, go to www.mas.org.mx; there is a link to their page in English.

If your mouth is watering, it’s not too late to sample the chefs’ fare:

(Hotel W)Campos Eliseos 252, Polanco
Tel. 9138-1818

Palmas 425, colonia Lomas de Chapultepec
Tel. 5520-5702

Presidente Masaryk 407, Polanco
Tel. 5282-2064

La Casa de Las Enchiladas
Newton 105, Polanco
Lago Alberto 416, Anahuac
Liverpool 169, Zona Rosa
Rio Lerma 257, Cuauhtemoc

Avenida de la Paz 47, San Angel
Tel. 5550-8355

Av. Vasco de Quiroga 3900-1, Santa Fe
Tel. 1084-8750

Casa México (opening in December)
Génova 70, Zona Rosa
Tel. 5525-1196

Hacienda Temozón
Carretera Mérida-Uxmal, Yucatán
see: www.haciendasmexico.com

Qué Bo! Chocolates
Julia Verne 104-B, Polanco
Explanada 737, Lomas

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