Farm to Table 2017

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Only 200 tickets are sold for this INCREDIBLE event. Last year sold out. Get your tickets now as I don’t want to hear you complaining you missed it 😉

The first two events ROCKED—al fresco dining in an organic vegetable field, with eight or nine courses prepared by a group of fine local and international chefs. The meal includes two main proteins and free-flowing wine and cocktails served by professional waiters and eaten family style with an interesting and eclectic group of people.

It’s a magical afternoon and evening, ending after the incredible colors of sunset over the fields segue into the darkness. Plus, the raffle at the end benefits a charity, so we can feel good amidst our gluttony.

Click on any photo below to enlarge it and read captions or view a slideshow.

The 2017 Farm to Table will be held on Sunday February 12 from 1-5pm at Chuy Lizárraga’s (Chuy’s Organics) farm just north of Mazatlán at Kilometer 21. The stellar team of chefs has been slightly different each year, in order to keep things fresh and creative. In 2017 we can look forward to the work of Alastair Porteous, Water’s Edge Bistro; Gabriel Ocampo, F.I.S.H. Fresh International Seafood House; Daniel Soto, El Caprichito Mío (Culiacán); Luis Osuna, Cayenna Cocina del Mundo (Culiacán); Elmo Ruffo, La Fiera; Karl Gregg, Blue Print Group (Vancouver); and Francis Regio, Regio Hospitality Group (Vancouver)—seven chefs working together to delight our palates and souls.

Participating chefs are committed to organic food and the farm to table concept. Chef Alastair co-founded the event and continues to lead it; Sarah Emerson, Marianne Biasotti and Chuy Lizárraga have also been with the effort since the beginning. The chefs work as a team to prepare every dish, though one chef takes the lead on each course. Sarah Emerson from F.I.S.H. compared Alastair to a symphony conductor, as he works with the chefs individually to plan a menu that brings out the strengths of each. Preparing a gourmet, farm-fresh meal in a field is no easy task, but I can personally vouch that they do a splendid job. Most of the chefs even pick their own produce right in Chuy’s fields!

Tickets this year are 1400 pesos and will be available at Water’s Edge starting today, Tuesday December 13th, and at the restaurants of the participating chefs shortly thereafter. This dinner will make a wonderful Valentine’s gift. The Sunday event will take place from 1-5pm. You can drive to Chuy’s farm, or there will be bus transportation available via reservation for a separate fee.

Last year’s menu went like this:

  1. Welcome cocktail—cucumber-mint margaritas made with Mazatlán’s own Los Osuna—prepared by Chef Alastair Porteous, Water’s Edge
  2. Green ceviche—shrimp, mahi, avocado, cilantro, parsley, garlic, chilaca and anaheim chile pesto—by Chefs Gabriel Ocampo and Luis Vargas, FISH
  3. Tres Islas micro-brew—Belgian-style, amber color, light body, dry finish, notes of fruits and spices—by Brewmaster Edvin Jonsson
  4. Dual temperature salad—grilled eggplant and portobello, squash that had been roasted in the ground, tomato trilogy and sweet baby bell peppers with a cranberry, raspbery and balsamic vinaigrette—by Chef Daniel Soto, El Caprichito Mio
  5. Traditional risotto—on a bed of huitlachoche/corn truffles, with radish garnish, parmesan crust, and tempura zucchini blossoms—by Enrique Freyre, Raggio Cucina Casual
  6. My favorite: grilled sea bass—in a smoked tomatillo sauce topped with seafood gratin—by Chef Luis Osuna of Cayenna
  7. Greg’s favorite: chamorro/pork shoulder rib—braised with red wine, star anise, garlic, cumin and thyme—by Chef Alastair Porteous, Water’s Edge
  8. Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc from Chucaro, along with hibiscus tea
  9. Fresh fruit and cheese petit fours, plus incredible breads—by Susan Reynolds, Miel Fresh Baked Goods
  10. Dessert coffee—organic Chiapas espresso with a spiced date pure over vanilla ice cream, topped with toasted almonds and coconut—by Marianne Bisotti of Rico’s Café

I recently had the pleasure of hosting Sarah Emerson from F.I.S.H., Yamil González from La Fiera, and Chuy Lizárraga from Chuy’s Organics in my home for a conversation about the upcoming event. Pour yourself a glass of something delectable, and sit down to listen to them tell the FTT Mazatlán story.

Are you curious about which chefs have been involved in the Farm to Table dinner? Below is a handy dandy little table. Ok, Marianne isn’t a chef, but she has prepared a drink each year, and a delicious one at that—so she is included.

Chefs 2014 2016 2017
Alastair Porteous, Water’s Edge X X X
Sarah Emerson & Gabriel Ocampo, F.I.S.H. X X X
Marianne Biasotti, Rico’s Café X X X
Daniel Soto, El Caprichito, Culiacán X X
Luis Osuna, Cayenna, Culiacán X X
Diego Becerra, El Presidio X
Enrique Espinoza, Rosso Nero X
Enrique Freyre, Raggio X  X
Héctor Peniche, Molika X
Luis Vargas, F.I.S.H. X
Elmo Ruffo, La Fiera X
Karl Gregg, Executive Chef, Vancouver  X X
Francis Regio, Regio Hospitality Group X

The first year FTT benefitted the non-profit organization Avicultores Pérez Vidaña, an award-winning non-profit organization in Sinaloa that assists low-income families with severely handicapped children by teaching them to raise chickens and eggs for food. It also helped out the educational programs of our local Mercado Orgánico. Last year Farm to Table raffle prizes benefitted Floreser, the home for young women fleeing domestic violence. This year’s charity has, at press time, not yet been decided.

Cocktail-wise, the first year highlighted Onilikan. Last year we had beers from Tres Islas, our local microbrewery, and cocktails made with Los Osuna. In 2017 we’ll be joined by Tequila Agatha from Jalisco. The cocktail to be featured is a surprise!

I look forward to laughing, drinking and eating with you there!

OMG What a Nite! Cuerpo Gourmet

11038736_1397250817255943_3422775490219867973_n Last night was incredible. Honestly and completely. I arrived back from Venice and Milan in the morning, and was jet lagged but oh-so-excited to attend Delfos’ annual fundraiser, this year titled “Gourmet Body.” The event did not disappoint. In fact, it rocked so much I’m tempted to attend again today. Bless Omar, Claudia, Diego and everyone involved! This was an avant-garde performance that we would have been privileged to see in any major world city, and here we were, right in our very own Mazatlán! According to the program:

Gourmet Body is a hybrid performance that heightens all five senses. A game of chance where the viewer decides what to see and taste. It consists of eight scenes and eight tastings happening simultaneously in different spaces at Casa Garcia. It’s not just a dance performance; it’s not just a tasting; it’s not just a meeting among friends; it’s an entirely new way to experience art, food and social gatherings!”

It combined performance art—modern dance, music, lighting, acting—with delicious degustaciones made by Chef Diego Becerra and staff, and it took place in the beautiful surroundings that are Casa Garcia. There were eight “tours” we could take, and each person attending was able to do four. That’s the reason to go again—to do the remaining four. Last night’s event was attended by a good mix of locals and expats, and equally enjoyed by all. Everything was conducted bilingually, in Spanish and English. Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

The Delfos troupe is one of the most renowned in Latin America, and we are blessed to have them based right here in our beloved Mazatlán. The group was founded in 1992 by Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz. Last night’s unbelievable event was an annual fundraiser (different each year) to support Delfos’ and the Professional School of Dance of Mazatlán’s social and educational projects. That includes community outreach to local colonias such as Urías, where kids without shoes are given the chance to learn the Delfos philosophy, joy of life, as well as dance.

Cuerpo Gourmet was conceived and produced by Delfos’ Omar Carrum. The architectural beauty of Casa Garcia, plus the fresh night air and clear sky in the courtyard were, of course, stars of the show. Having just come from Venice, where it is normal to pay US$40 for the privilege of good atmosphere or a scenic view, tonight I paid $40 for great views PLUS four incredible performances, four mouth-watering tapas, three glasses of full-bodied red wine, and the enjoyment of reconnecting with a whole bunch of friends.

Each of the eight performances had a theme and costumed tour guides. Each tour was limited by the number of people who could attend: between ten and 25 each round. Tour guides stood in line with their signs and tickets, and when a bell was rung, they handed out the tickets they had for that round. A program told those of us attending the theme of each performance, so we could approach that tour guide to get our tickets. In theory, each of us should have been able to attend any of the eight, but in reality the kids had so many friends and family there that some of the tours—such as #1, which took place in the bathroom, and another, which took place in the kitchen—were “sold out” each and every round before the bell even rang to begin giving out tickets. I will say, however, that every tour was wonderful—the performances, the costuming, and the food. It’s just that some were obviously more popular than others, and people were definitely pushy and psyched when they got tickets to their choice of tours!

The event had sold “VIP tickets” so that people could attend both nights. I had not heard about this option prior to tonight, probably because I was traveling. Since we were only able to attend four of the eight performances, attending both nights via the VIP option sounds smart, indeed. I assume they have a way to ensure that you get to see all eight tours. The first performance we went to was #8—Family Portrait: Sweet sighs of a layer hen. It took place on the second floor of the patio, in a small room with a terrace. Our seats were nests with eggs, and our degustación was a chocolate egg that was oh-so-delicious! Two dancers (Roseli Arias and Renato González) with masks and eggs danced in (and through) a window facing the audience.

Below is a video clip of this performance:

The second performance we attended was #7—At the Edge…The Oblivion: Hot passion served cold. This was also on the second floor, in a small room laid out with a long table dressed with white tablecloth, red roses and candles, on a balcony overlooking the floor below. Two girls (Aura Patrón and Karla Nunez) danced in a window, then we met two guys (Daniel Marin and Johnny Milan) dancing down on the floor below. Finally, all four were together down there in a ball of passion; the performance was a wonderful use of the architectural space in Casa Garcia. The tasting was a wet and spicy ceviche.

Here is a bit of video of this station:

Our third performance, #2—The Secret Ingredient: How people don’t know what they are eating—took place on the roof, and was the most energetic performance we saw. Also the funniest. Performers dressed as a chef, sous chef and cooks (Julio César Rendón, Sofia Ramírez, María de Lourdes Melo and Christian Jiménez) danced around with fry pans, and then served us a wonderful warm taco filled with chorizo.

Here’s a clip of this performance; enjoy! Our final performance, #3—Little Dudes: Four-creature cocktail in a fresh indulgence sauce—also took place upstairs on the roof, past the room with the pool table. It involved four performers (Alejandra Juárez, Francisco Herrejón, Jorge Luis Rebollo, and Ashley Pietro), and we were served a shrimp cocktail with a citrus dressing.

Below is a video of this performance:
I met two young dancers from the US last night, both of whom are doing a one-year residency with Delfos. The first, Olivia Fauver who studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, and the second, who I interviewed, Hillary Grumman from Seattle. Below is my interview with Hillary:

The performances we missed included:

  • #1—Anthropophagy: Dreams of meat in the sauce of craving and hunger
  • #4—The appointment: Meat pie of two religions with plantains and suburban pigs
  • #5—Bleeding in the sky: Blames of the cattle sandwich with BBQ sauce and farmer’s corn bread
  • #6—Absences: Memories of forbidden fruits covered with chocolate nostalgia

Hearty congratulations and many thanks to Claudia, Omar, Diego and everyone involved! What a wonderful, jet lag-filled welcome home to Mazatlán! Get your tickets to tonight’s event at Casa Garcia (Calle Niños Héroes #1511) or LOOK Gallery.

Part of the #MyGlobalLife Link-Up