Part Seven: Buenos Aires, Argentina
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was Monday, the first of our two days at the prestigious Instituto
Argentino de Gastronomia. Since I would be presenting to two
different groups, I had chosen the same menu for the two nights,
a menu that I felt showcased the versatility of technique, flavour,
texture and aroma of what I called 'Vegetarian World Food'
(Comida Vegetariana del Mundo). Daksa and I arrived early
in the afternoon and set up in one of the school's professional
cooking auditoriums. With the aid of a resident chef, we commenced
our mis en place. Class notes had been professionally
printed. Here is the menu:
Comida Vegetariana del
introduced me to one of our assistants for the night, Maria Calzada,
a charismatic chef who often presented at the college. She had been
the one who had helped secure and promote the event. Maria supplied
organic produce from her farm of 100 acres, and was the director
of El Rincon Organico, distributing organic products
to health food stores, natural restaurants and private homes in
Buenos Aires. Maria has brought along a selection
of fresh and dry produce for us to use in tonight's class.
had also invited a friend, the partner of a well-known Argentine
TV and Film actor, to do the translation. She sat up the front with
a lapel microphone and translated as we went along. Tonight's audience
consisted exclusively of food editors and writers from a
host of Argentina's food magazines, plus media representatives from
most of Buenos Aires' newspapers, radio and television stations.
Here we see my assistant chefs commencing to roll the famous Bengali
saffron and cardamom scented confections, gulab jamuns.
two-hour class went very smoothly, with a host of intelligent questions
fielded from the learned audience. The facilities and assistance
were superb, the whole cookery machinery moving flawlessly towards
the night's climax, the eating! A number of chefs from the institute
came and joined us for the very generous tasting after the presentation.
Everyone, especially the chefs, were amazed at the superb flavours,
especially the heavenly aromas and intriguing texture of the gulab
the class, I was introduced to some of the media people who had
attended the class. Notable were Maria De Michelis, Editor
of Acuario, Jorge A. Lopez Cortes, Director
of Multimedios Gastronomicos, and Pablo Bizon
From Focus Media, publishing magazines such as the
well-respected Mesa Uno and Redaccion.
We booked times for some interviews to be held the following
evening. Finally I posed for a photo with (from left to right),
Maria Calzada, myself, the Director of the Institute
(sorry, forgotten name), Vice Director Diego Gera,
and Daksakanya Dasi.
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