Three INSIDERs can win tickets to Gourmet Latino Festival Seminars

What do you know about the Mezcal trail, the foods and national spirit of Brazil, and the wines and cuisine of Chile? Just enough so that you’ve whet your appetite and want to know more, or are you so knowledgeable that you bleed Pisco and make tamales in your sleep?

Whatever your level of expertise with the food and drink of Latin America you won’t want to miss out on the chance to win tickets to this weekend’s Gourmet Latino Festival.

We’ve got three pairs of tickets to give away for the following seminars (one pair per seminar, details on winning after the jump):

Pairing Perfection: Chile’s Top Wine Regions Paired with Classic Chilean Dishes
With Chef Jacques Gautier, Fred Dexheimer and Jorge Perez
Saturday, June 5, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Mezcal Trail: Travel Through the Seven Regions of Mezcal With Chef Roberto Santibañez and The Liquid Chef Junior Merino
Sunday, June 6, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Feel the Spirit of Brazil and Crank Up the Heat with Brazilian Food & Cocktails!
With Author/Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Olie Berlic, Vicente Bastos Ribeiro and Steve Luttmann
Sunday, June 6, 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

This celebration of Latin culinary traditions and culture offers up a lively and tasty educational seminar series featuring food, cocktail and wine luminaries discussing and sampling authentic Latin dishes and drinks, as well as their interaction and cultural significance.

“I’m very proud of the level of the chefs, cocktail experts and sommeliers who are participating in our seminar program,” said Steve Olson, aka wine geek and beverage ambassador of the festival. “Moreover, it’s quite unique that the beverage and culinary sides will be presented simultaneously, as an organic whole, in all of our seminars. In the Latin world, the two always go hand-in-hand and we are thrilled to honor this tradition and provide this complete experience to New Yorkers and visiting out-of-towners.”

The festival and its seminars benefit GrowNYC’s (formerly the Council of the Environment of New York City) “New Farmers Development Project” that helps immigrant farmers in New York’s Hudson Valley and Catskill Regions, New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania.

The 12 seminars, which will include in-depth demonstrations, as well as food and drink tastings, will take place at the Astor Center in New York City on June 5-6, 2010. Ticket prices begin at $35 per seminar and are available for purchase at

The first three people to correctly answer these questions and respond via email to: will be eating and drinking well this weekend. (Hint: answers can be found below and/or on the festival’s website at

1) Where can you enjoy Carnival at La Gran Plaza in New York this weekend?
2) What non-profit organization is the beneficiary of the Gourmet Latino Festival?
3) Which restaurants do the following chefs work at/own: Aaron Sanchez, Julian Medina, Jose Garces, Roberto Santibanez, Sue Torres, Máximo Tejada?
4) Which bars do the following bartenders work at/own: St. John Frizzell, Giuseppe Gonzalez, Junior Merino, Joaquin Simo (and, for the bonus question – Danny Valdez).
5) Pisco is to Peru as Cachaça is to…?
6) When is “levantamuertos” served in Latin America?
7) How much money will you save by being an INSIDER and getting these questions right?



Saturday, June 5, 12 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Culinary Traditions & The Power of Women
With Chef Zarela Martínez, GrowNYC’s Latin Farmers and Hot Bread Kitchen Women

Chef Zarela Martínez (Zarela) has invited GrowNYC’s Latin farmers and one of Hot Bread Kitchen’s tortilla chefs to cook with her and prepare a delicious green mole accompanied by corn tortillas, handmade from fresh nixtamal. She will also discuss her life story as a female Mexican chef and HBK’s empowerment initiatives.

Saturday, June 5, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Pairing Perfection: Chile’s Top Wine Regions Paired with Classic Chilean Dishes
With Chef Jacques Gautier, Fred Dexheimer and Jorge Perez

Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer and wine importer Jorge Perez will explore superior Chilean producers from regions that include San Antonio/Leyda, Alto Maipo, Apalta and Colchagua, paired with classic Chilean dishes from Chef Jacques Gautier (Palo Santo), like an authentic guiso de cordero (lamb stew).

Saturday, June 5, 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Celebrating Rum: The New World’s Spirit & Its Cuisine
With Food Author/Chef Daisy Martinez and St. John Frizell

Writer/restaurateur St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance) will team up with food author/Food Network chef Daisy Martinez for a rum-fueled cruise of the Latin Caribbean and delve into this 500-year-old spirit in all of its styles, from light rums that power the Daiquiri and Mojito to well-aged sipping rums. Guest mixologists will prepare classic and contemporary rum drinks for all.

Saturday, June 5, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Agave & Maize: The Crown Jewels of Mexico’s Spirits and Cuisines
With Chef Sue Torres and Steve Olson

Chef Sue Torres (Sueños Restaurant) will be joined by spirits expert Steve Olson (aka wine geek and beverage ambassador of the festival) to discuss the corn-based dishes that have sustained Mexicans since pre-Hispanic times when the process of nixtamalization was developed and their natural interplay with agave-based elixirs such as Tequila and Mezcal, which have their own ancient origins and distinct terroirs.

Saturday June 5, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Coco: An Exploration of the Coconut in All of Its Creative Forms
With Chef Máximo Tejada, Denisse Oller and Amaury Robayo

Chef Máximo Tejada (Rayuela and Macondo), food author Denisse Oller and Master Mixologist Amaury Robayo (Rayuela) explore the various gastronomic and drinks uses of this historic fruit, taking attendees on a journey that surveys the flavors of the tropics to those of Spanish descent. Chef Máximo’s Estilo Libre Latino dishes include paella roja (beet coconut rice with seafood), ceviche de caracol con navajas (sliced conch and razor clam ceviche) and surena coquera (a seafood coconut soup).

SUNDAY, JUNE 6, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Start Your Sunday Morning with Coffee and Cacao
With Chef Maricel Presilla

Chef Maricel Presilla (Cucharamama and Zafra), who is not only a top chef, but also a chocolate (cacao) historian, will present a delightful morning lecture filled with history and cacao from Ecuador and beyond, paired with coffees provided by Cafe Juan Valdez.

Sunday, June 6, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Exploring Peru’s Gastronomy and Its Pisco Trail
With Chef Julian Medina and Dale DeGroff

Chef Julian Medina (Toloache and Yerba Buena) and Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff (King of Cocktails) will join forces to focus on Peru’s world renowned, fresh ingredient-driven cuisine that has grafted Spanish, African, Chinese and Japanese influences atop its native Indian roots and will celebrate Peru’s national spirit, Pisco, and its legendary cocktails, such as the Pisco Sour.

Sunday, June 6, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Levantamuertos Food & Cocktails
With Chef Aarón Sánchez and Steve Olson

Chef Aarón Sánchez (Food Network star and culinary ambassador of the festival) and spirits expert Steve Olson (aka wine geek and beverage ambassador of the festival) will showcase levantamuertos (“awaken the dead”) foods and drinks at a brunch seminar that pairs regional Mexican dishes with traditional morning cocktails.

Sunday, June 6, 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. The Empanadas and Wines of Latin America, from Baja to Patagonia
With Chef Natalia Machado and Sommelier Ivan Ruiz
Chef Natalia Machado (Industria Argentina and Azul Bistro), accompanied by Sommelier Ivan Ruiz (a noted Latin wine authority), will explore the history, traditions and regional flavors of empanadas, as well as regional expressions of key grape varietals across Latin America in wines provided by Bodega Trapiche.

Sunday, June 6, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Mezcal Trail: Travel Through the Seven Regions of Mezcal With Chef Roberto Santibañez and The Liquid Chef Junior Merino
Chef Roberto Santibañez (Executive Chef and Owner of Fonda Restaurant and former culinary director of Rosa Mexicano), together with Master Mixologist Junior Merino, will delve into the regional cuisines, legends, culture and rich history surrounding one of Mexico’s most ancient spirits, Mezcal, and will pour samples of many not yet available in the U.S.
Sunday, June 6, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Art of Authentic Cooking & Cocktail Pairing
With “Iron Chef” Jose Garces, Andy Seymour, Julie Reiner, Jim Meehan and Joaquin Simo

Chef Jose Garces (Amada, Distrito and Chifa), the newly-minted Food Network “Iron Chef,” will prepare the dishes of his childhood sojourn in Ecuador, including masitas fritas (crispy fried pork), las cosas finas (chilled hominy salad) and ceviche de conchas (clam ceviche). These dishes will be matched with Latin-inspired cocktails that incorporate both Latin and non-Latin spirits created by Andy Seymour (aka wine geek and BAR), Julie Reiner (Clover Club), Jim Meehan (PDT) and Joaquin Simo (Death & Co.) to show how spirits can bring out the rich, bold flavors of Latin food.

Sunday, June 6, 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Feel the Spirit of Brazil and Crank Up the Heath with Brazilian Food & Cocktails!
With Author/Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Olie Berlic, Vicente Bastos Ribeiro and Steve Luttmann

Author/Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz (“The Brazilian Kitchen”), together with Cachaça experts Olie Berlic (Beleza Pura), Vicente Bastos Ribeiro (Fazenda Soledad and Nega Fulo) and Steve Luttmann (Leblon), will discuss and sample Brazil’s multifaceted cuisine—boasting Portuguese, African and native Indian influences— and explore why it pairs so well with Cachaça, the country’s unique national spirit distilled from fresh sugar cane juice, which powers exuberant cocktails like the Caipirinha. The drinks will be paired with classic petiscos (bar food) featured in Chef Leticia’s cookbook, “The Brazilian Kitchen.”


In addition to the educational seminars, the festival will also host two special wine dinners:

Tuesday, June 8, 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Industria Argentina (Two Seatings)
Special Wine Dinner Event: “La Cordillera de Los Andes from North to South”
With Chef Natalia Machado

Chef Natalia Machado (Industria Argentina and Azul Bistro) kicks off the festival’s “Authentic Dining Week” with a dinner that matches the diversity of Argentina’s regional dishes with wines from Bodega Trapiche in Mendoza. Dishes will showcase pre-Columbian ingredients like potatoes and quinoa, Patagonic lamb and Spanish/Italian influences from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.

Thursday, June 10, 7:30 p.m. at Palo Santo Restaurant
Special Wine Dinner Event: Exploring Latin American Wine
With Chef Jacques Gautier and Wine Expert Jayne Rockmill

Chef Jacques Gautier (Palo Santo) will host a six-course seasonal menu with a focus on local Greenmarket ingredients paired with an eclectic selection of Latin American wines. The wines, selected by wine expert Jayne Rockmill, include varietals such as Tannat, Torrontes, Bonarda, Merselan and Petit Verdot. They hail from obvious “big player” wine producing countries such as Argentina and Chile, along with lesser-known players such as Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico.