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This is how I learned about Pilar coming to town, which is exciting in itself.

I got a call from Andrew Gardner, my old friend from my days at Xango, who’s now part of the management team at Reds Bistro.

He and Reds Chef Michael Steh, invited me to come and talk to them about Latino cuisine. They wanted to add something authentically South American to their repertoire for when their distinguished guest chef arrives from Chile comes to cook in their kitchen next week.

Kicking off on October 1st, and wrapping up with a gala finale tasting menu dinner on October 6th, Reds is hosting “Flavours of Chile,” a celebration of Chilean food and wine.

Ceviche and Scallop with salsa verde

Andrew and Mike were particularly interested in humitas, a distinctly Chilean dish, made with tender, ground corn, onions, smoked paprika, basil and butter or pork fat, depending on the maker’s taste. The mixture is wrapped in corn husks, tied with string into neat parcels and then steamed. They’re often accompanied by pebre, a raw salsa of sweet peppers, chiles, onions, tomato and cilantro, a fresh counterpoint to the humita’s sweet creamy contents.

Humitas have become known as a Latino staple because they’re also made throughout the Andes, from Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador, and all the way down to Argentina, each country doing its own unique version.

I love doing cooking demonstrations, but this was a little different. Something beautiful happened when I tied on my apron in the Reds kitchen.
Since starting my catering business last year, I haven’t been on the line of a restaurant kitchen and had no idea how much I missed it. Cooking that afternoon, I got all juiced up with the adrenalin that comes from being at the stoves. It’s the buzz all cooks get hooked on — the creative joy of making something that tastes great, in the company of others who feel the same way.

It was a blast. Thanks so much for that, guys.

For her visit, Pilar has prepared three different menus of regional dishes, and will cook alongside Mike, who will be putting his own brilliant spin on Latino.

The cherry on top? Chilean wines matched to each course.

No se lo pierdan*
* Spanish for “Don’t miss it.”

For more info call 416-862-7337

For more on the stars of the show:

Pilar Rodriguez
Michael Steh

Yours in good food, working with great chefs,

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*Spanish for: "Mmm. Wow. That's good!"