Mesamerica, Part 2: Geeta Bansal at One of the Most Prestigious Food Conferences in the World!

Categories: On the Line

Geeta with Pablo Salas and their piggy friend...
Every week, Clay Oven Irvine executive chef/owner Geeta Bansal shares an interview that she's done with some of the heavyweights of world cooking. Today, she regales us with a dispatch from Mesamerica 2013, one of the world's premier chef conferences. Enjoy!

Mesamerica Day 2
By Geeta Bansal, Clay Oven Irvine executive chef

The last image of the first day of Mesamerica in Mexico City that stayed with me till the next morning was chef Massimo Bottura (of the restaurant Osteria Fransescana, Modena, Italy, which is currently ranked #3 in 2013 according to San Pellegrino) showing his regard and affection for his sous chef David up on stage. Later that night I was able to spend time with the both of them and could tell that it was a very genuine emotion and was heartwarming to see. These are moments that show the true personality of these people and help understand why they are so highly regarded by their peers.

Massimo Bottura and Sous Chef David

The second day began with Fulvio Eccardi who discussed ingredients, biodiversity and the value of origin. He was followed by one of the most interesting presenters that morning, our very own David Kinch of Manresa, Los Gatos. In my opinion he is one of the most talented chefs in our country and the nicest human being to boot.

David Kinch of Manresa, Los Gatos, California

A highlight of his demonstration was the buckwheat popcorn he created. Squid ink, boudin noir, rice crispies (actually little fried cubes of cooked rice) were all part of his demo along with a video clip of the kitchens at Manresa and of Love Apple Farms that grows all of his produce.

David Kinch's Buckwheat popcorn

He was followed by Adam Goldberg, food blogger from 'A life Worth Eating' spoke about tasting menus and their caloric content. Lots of charts and diagrams, so he kind of lost the audience interest for a while. But the subject matter is of interest to chefs with elaborate tasting menus requiring a few hours at the table.

Gabriela Camara of Contramar the seafood restaurant in the city was one of the few women chefs represented on stage. Camara said that our hospitality industry is in fact the industry of generosity and stressed the importance of courteous service.

Then came chef Pablo Salas of Amarante, Mexico who demonstrated pork and its various presentations and had a little piglet as part of his demo. It created a mystery for a while in the green room as we all conjectured on the source of the squealing. I was with Gaston Acurio and Virgilio Martinez and we were guessing if it was a goat, a child or what till Pablo strode in with the little thing tucked under his arm!

Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand, Paris

After lunch, Inaki Aizpitarte along with film maker Nanda Fernandez took the stage. Their film clip of Inaki strolling the streets in Andalusia, Spain with his kids and a little cooler with egg yolks that he brûléed with a blow torch and served on a daquoise like an open sandwich to passer bys was endearing and hilarious at the same time. Inaki is a talented Basque chef who's Le Chateaubriand restaurant in Paris should be on everyone's to do list. (more about that in an interview with him).

Inaki serving his eggs on the street in Spain

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