Highlighting Panama Cuisine with musical spices

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By Margot Thomas

IF  YOU THINK that Panamanian cuisine is rice, beans and pollo (chicken) you might want to make time this weekend to visit a gastronomic fair  and open some new culinary windows.

One of the  organizers.  Of the second “”Panama Menu” event, is Jorge Chanis,  author of the blog  El Buen dientes (Swee tooth)  and creator of “The Good Fork” awards  seeks to position the Latin American isthmus as a gastronomic epicenter while promoting the technical development of  local chefs.
The feasting  involving 20 local chefs 5 international guests with 12 performers adding  musical spice,  starts on Saturday February 20 at 11:00 am and will continue until early Sunday near the Biomuseo, beside the old Officers Club.

Last year, the  first  food and wine fest drew about 500 people. This year  projections are that some 1,500 will visit the multiple food stalls to get a new take on Panama’s cultural identity.

Stand out Panama chef Mario Castrellón will be the guest of honor celebrating Afro-Caribbean cuisine and the traditional use in Panama of yucca, cilantro, guava and  curry, pepper and more.

“With this we seek to rescue the popular Panamanian cuisine,” says Chanis, who claims to have as ultimate goal to achieve a balance  between haute cuisine and traditional Isthmus culinary preparations.

The kitchen has artistic and cultural connotations, which when combined with other expressions such as music, create new and fruitful opportunities says  Chanis.

Throughout the day there will be  various attractions for young and old, a picnic area, food trucks, playgrounds and a market with additional products and handicraft stalls.

The event will be garnished  with  national musicians: Mr. Loop, Carlos Mendez, EsFiebre, Mayito Point Son, Luci & The Soul Brokers, Samuel Archer & The Caribbean Sweet Band, Monalisa and Rodrigo, The Collective, Equis pace, Santosur and I-Nesta.

The culinary festival had an educational segment on Friday devoted to training  aspiring chefs  led by chefs  from Spain, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Guatemala,  El Salvador and Venezuela.

They promise for Saturday  an expanded Latin American culinary experience with spicy Caribbean overtones for those who make the trip to Amador.

Tickets are on sale at Ticket Plus and Café Kingdom in  Coco del Mar, General admission is $30  and $ 50 including an “open” wine event from 5:00 pm to 9: 00 pm

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