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