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Back in early May I was invited to be part of the Pan American Food Festival by the festival culinary curator Mary Luz Mejia and immediately said yes “Si”, how many times would I get the chance to see and share the stage with some of my culinary heroes? not often.

With my good friend Maricel Presilla.

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The culinary line up included, Cuban- American chef and historian Maricel Presilla, Colombian chef and Professor Charlie Otero and Toronto’s own Chef, writer, teacher and good friend Donna Dooher “Donna so sorry I missed it, I had specially wanted to attend your demonstration”

With Colombian chef Charlie Otero.

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It was exciting to be reunited with my culinary hero Maricel Presilla and my good friends Mary Luz, husband and co-host Mario Stojanac.

The festival also featured our talented local Pan-Latino chefs, Mexico’s Paola Solorzano, Indalecio Marroquin,  Colombian’s chefs Claudia Gaviria, Natalie “cookie” Martinez and Venezuelan chef Mena Bustamante, Argentinian chef Elliott Gomez, Cuban chef Pedro Quintanilla, Peruvian’s chefs Luis Barreto, Alvaro Valencia and of course me, Sabrosito.

My demonstration featured one of my favorite dish form my native country of Venezuela Called “cachapitas”, better known as corn cakes. I used all local products including sweet Ontario corn, fresh cheese, butter and basil.

cachapitas con queso fresco y albahaca

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Neither the rain nor the traffic could impact the fun had by all. The festival was a great success!!

The reason for the festival as festival director Daniel Garcia-Herreros mentioned on his site.

It offers visitors a festive opportunity to experience the best of the region’s cuisine and
culture, in a celebration that expresses the strength of our continent’s vibrant
communities.
Featuring fine restaurants, specialized food producers and talented chefs from across the
Americas, the Festival offers typical regional dishes, as well as the native ingredients that give them their unique flavours. These delicacies are complemented by the colourful sights and sounds of visual arts, music and folklore from the 41 countries of the Pan American continent, including North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.”

With Mary Luz, Daniel, Maricel, Mario and me! from right to left.

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The festival also featured great local and international musicians such as; Mexican duo Café con Pan, Cuban singer and writer Luis Mario Ochoa, Uruguayan harp player Martha Mazzoleni and her group, Orquesta la Fantasia, Canada’s Tuna Lazos de Amistad, French Canadian duo Bootat, Colombian group Los Maritos and Toronto’s Henry Vivel & Orchestra and the list goes on.

the featured country this year was Colombia, the festival also show-cased some of the best of artists, films and writers from all the Pan- American countries.

I wanted to say Mil Gracias to the organizers, volunteers, chefs and all the people who came out to support the festival, it could not have happened without you.

On a personal note; would like to thank my crew, Patrick, Taylor, Charlie and Michael.
Very Special thanks to Adrian, Carolina and Diane for your support on the weekend.

Love you guys.
Yours from the first Pan-American festival in T.O.

Carlos

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