Chicago is one of the Best Places to Eat!

When the James Beard Awards Gala was held in Chicago last month, visitors were met with banners at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and restaurants rolled out their red carpets to show everyone what I already knew. Chicago is one of the best places in the world to eat and not just because of my friend Rick Bayless and his wife Deann’s eating establishments.

Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post recently wrote a wonderful article on eating in Chicago as part of his search for America’s best food cities. I highly recommend reading it. Here is the link.

He interviews Rick and several other chefs and writes about the history of Chicago and its relationship to food.

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Rick Bayless and Marilyn Tausend
Sooke Harbour House, Marilyn’s Birthday Celebration


He says of Rick, “To keep his menus fresh, the restaurateur takes staffers on multiple trips to different parts of Mexico every year.” Culinary Adventures is proud to have been part of organizing these trips and the chefs’ trips that continue are held each September. This year’s trip is in Campeche September 20-27.

More Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday

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Rick Bayless and his wife, Deann Groen Bayless have released their ninth book, More Mexican Everyday for people who love to cook. They “offer recipes that are not dumbed down, that are smart recipes utilizing ingredients and cookware and techniques to be the most efficient.” They wrote the book to help cooks understand why a recipe is that way it is but then they hope that cooks will release their slavish ties to the recipe and to improvise more.

Rick believes that almost everyone who cooks dinner is doing a Quickfire challenge, like he did as Top Chef Master. You don’t have much time, and it has to be cooked and you want it to be delicious. To be successful, Rick says, the keys are understanding flavor, texture and how to balance them.

Don’t miss out as a chef to join Rick and Ricardo Munoz on the chefs’ trip to Campeche in September. We still have openings. To see more delicious bites from Rick, check out the Eater video on eating a meal at Topolabampo, Rick’s fine dining restaurant in Chicago. You can see it and the article here.

Campeche Chefs’ Trip

September 20-27, 2015
This year’s chefs’ trip is to Campeche, a seldom visited state on the Yucatán Peninsula. The capitol, also Campeche, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and will be our destination for the chefs’ trip September 20 through the 27th. Campeche, formerly named Ah-Kim-Pech, which means “Place of Snakes and Ticks,” is an ancient settlement from the magnificent Mayan culture founded in 1540 by the Spanish.

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The week will be filled with classes, demonstrations and discussions with Rick Bayless, Ricardo Muñoz and various local chefs who will teach Campeche’s local specialties such as muc bil pollo.

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Malecon in Campeche

 

We will be staying at the Best Western Hotel Del Mar just across the street from the Gulf of Mexico and the colorful 3.5 kilometer malecon (boardwalk), for you running and walking enthusiasts. The location is just blocks away from the historic centro with buildings ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including military, civil and religious structures. The folklore and history of this legendary city are still alive in its streets and one can easily imagine the Spanish conquistadors and pirates that once roamed here.

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Photo by Ana Elena Martinez

Also on the agenda is a visit to the Edzna archeological site where we will enjoy the light and sound show, “The Light of the Itzás” which recalls the splendor of the site and the customs of the Mayans who inhabited the site from 400 B.C. until 1450. Edzná or House of the Itzá comes from the Itzá a lineage of Chontal origin. Cena that evening will be enjoyed at the beautiful Hacienda Uayamón.

There will be demos at a bakery, and in the small town of Becal we will see how the jipilapa hats are woven by families and made in limestone caves to escape the Yucatecan blistering heat. There are some wonderful pictures here by Lukas Vacovsky of the process.

Next, we will drive to Uxmal where we will spend the night, then tour the site before visiting a local chocolate museum. Next up is a demo on making muc bil pollo at the Hacienda Blanca Flor before returning to Campeche and more classes with local cooks.

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Chefs Ana Elena Martinez and Ricardo Munoz

The trip starts and ends in Campeche and costs $4,000 with an additional $300 for a single room. The costs include two meals per day, hotel accommodations and transportation and fees during the trip. It excludes airfare to/from Campeche. The trip is limited to 20 chefs and food professionals (as of 5/5 there are 7 spots left).

To sign up please use the contact form listed below.

A cooking lesson with Pilar Cabrera

A delightful view of my good friend Pilar Cabrera as she teaches a few students about the art of making tamales, like the ones her grandmother taught her to make. Pilar is the chef of La Olla Restaurante in Oaxaca. Her food is delicious.

Exploring Chiapas with Chef Andres Padilla

Chef Rick and Deann Bayless, along with Topolobampo Culinary Director Chef Andres Padilla, spent time while in Chiapas going to Ocosingo, Chamula and of course, the mercados. Here, Chef Andres describes the experience of what they saw. You can also see more pictures of Chiapas on his Tumbler page.

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Chef Andres Padilla, Topolobampo

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Chiapas Explorer’s Trip

Here is a visual summary of the February explorer’s trip to Chiapas. The videos were made by Kathy Martinides.

An opportunity to cook with Diana Kennedy

www.dianakennedycenter.org;www.culinaryadventuresinc.com Diana has turned Quinta Kennedy, her home in Michoacán, into an educational center/foundation. She is offering the first of her boot camps, The Building Blocks of Mexican Food January 18-25, 2015. Many of you have asked repeatedly when the next trip to Diana’s would be taking place, so now is your opportunity to sign up and study the basics of Mexican cuisine with Diana. The trip will start and end in Mexico City. For more details go to her website.

The Diana Kennedy Center (Fundación Quinta Diana) is a culinary research center and foundation based at the property of Diana Kennedy in Michoacán, Mexico. The center will offer intensive Mexican cooking courses with Diana, serve as a research center with access to Diana’s personal library and archives of notes, and fund organic edible gardens in local schools