Organic Gluttony Report


Farm to Table events are a worldwide trend, often related to the slow food movement, and the desire for organic, local-grown, farm-fresh and free-range ingredients. Mazatlán is blessed to have had three major Farm to Table events, with the latest one being held this past Sunday, February 12, 2017, on Chuy Lizárraga’s organic farm (Chuy’s Organics) just north of town.

What makes our Mazatlán event so unique? First, it’s held out in the middle of a pepper field, next to the green houses; we are surrounded by bird song, green crops, fresh air and sunshine. The chefs have to plan and prepare ahead, as in the middle of a farm field they have limited access to what a professional kitchen might have. They work out of tents, on a propane stove and open fires. Second, rather than having just one main chef, as is usually the case at such events, our FTT is a collaboration of some of the best chefs in Sinaloa. Greg and I have been fortunate to have attended all three Mazatlán FTT, and I have the double chin to prove it.

Let me get right to the food and drink, which is our main reason for traveling north of town about 20 minutes. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow. This year’s menu included:

  1. Welcome Cocktail: Cucumber margarita with fresh mint, Chef Alistair Porteous, Water’s Edge Bistro
  2. Ceviche FISH: Shrimp and pocked mahi, pineapple and red onion marinated in chipotle and garnished with avocado. VERY tasty with a nice smoky flavor complemented by the freshness of the pineapple. Gabriel Ocampo and Luis Vargas, Fresh International Seafood House
  3. Mazatlán Pilsner: Specially brewed for this event and not available at the brewery, this beer is infused with German hops, giving it an aroma of white wine, herbs and citrus. We loved it! A bit champagne-like, especially with the glass. Brewmaster Edvin Jonsson, Cervecería Tres Islas
  4. Organic Salad: Green beans, trio of tomatoes, ricotta and mussels with a red mustard and honey dressing. Chef Elmo Ruffo, Fiera
    This dish completely rocked! OMG! That ricotta sauce brought everything together and made it to die for. And, of course, I’m a sucker for mussels. Having met the charming owner of Fiera, Yamil González, and now knowing Elmo, you can bet we’ll be visiting Fiera again soon and regularly!
  5. Grilled Seafood Salad: Grilled shrimp with chimichurri, octopus with heirloom tomato marmalade, roasted sweet peppers with cranberry vinaigrette, and ash-roasted sweet potatoes and greens, goat cheese, and an apple and honey dressing. Chef Daniel Soto, El Caprichito Mio
    Another dish that was unbelievably delicious! Danny Soto is two for two; his cold salad last year was such a standout that we drove all the way to Culiacán to dine in his restaurant. His hot salad this year hit it out of the park as well. He loves gorgeous fresh vegetables just like we do! First a video with Daniel, followed by pics of his dish and the preparation.

  6. Jicama Tagliatelle: The menu said turnips, but they were past their prime in the fields. The chefs then used grated jicama as the pasta, in a sauce of shrimp bisque, mustard greens and green garlic vinaigrette. Chefs Francis Regio and Karl Gregg, guests from Vancouver BC

  7. Asian Duck Confit Tamales: What a wonderful twist on a traditional Mexican dish. Star anise, a mix of spices, orange, carrot and green onions with a garnish of crispy duck, accompanied by caramelized vegetables. Chef Alistair Porteous, Water’s Edge Bistro
    Alistair and his wife Tracey of course organized this whole event, though it is a collaboration, with everyone involved taking on major roles. Thank goodness they tell me we will have another FTT next year!
  8. Braised Pork Breast Ribs: In a miltomate sauce with barbecued duck and mushroom risotto. Chef Luis Osuna, Cayenna
    Another UNBELIEVABLY incredible taste combination! Two dishes in this course, and they were, indeed, heavenly. Another trip to Culiacán is definitely in order. We should be getting a Cayenna here in Mazatlán soon, thank goodness.
  9. Pumpkin Flan: with a crispy crumble topping. Hector Peniche, Hector’s Bistro
  10. Dessert Coffee: Organic expresso over vanilla ice cream, puré of coconut and spices, with a sweet expresso-coffee reduction. Marianne Biasotti and Enrique Ochoa, Rico’s Cafe
  11. Wines: All we could possibly drink of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, thanks to Javier Ramírez of Vinoteca and Oscar Gámez of Cava del Duero. There was iced hibiscus tea for those who didn’t want alcohol.
  12. Trio of fresh breads

As always, we were seated at long tables, which enabled us to make new friends as dining is family-style. There were nearly 300 people attending this year, including two reporters from Gourmet Magazine. This time we were lucky enough to sit with a gentleman who brought wine from his own cellar, just in case they didn’t serve enough. As if! His was great, though—thank you!

The chefs looked nearly as happy as we did when the day was finished. Glasses in hand, they happily accepted our accolades.

Our dear Gail Blackburn, from La Rosa de las Barras Farm, provided garlic snaps and other wholesome, flavorful goodies. As always, there was a raffle at the end, this year in benefit of Refugio San Pablo, a new home downtown for teenage boys—for which we raised $24,000 pesos! Our table was very fortunate, with several winners including Greg!

Music was provided by a strings duo, and they provided wonderful accompaniment to the birdsong and the buzzing of the fields.

The 25 wait staff were led by Andrés, as in prior years, and they did an outstanding job.

Thanks to my friend Martha Parra for a few of the photos! I will admit that sometimes I was too busy eating to get a good shot of a dish, so I appreciate her helping me. We were blessed with a most incredible day, capped off with a gorgeous sunset.

Farm to Table 2017


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!