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Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Event: the VIP Opening Reception function and Press Launch for the Pan American Food Festival.

The Date and Time:  Friday July 31, 2015  6:30PM to 9PM plus
The Event: the VIP Opening Reception function and Press Launch for the Pan American Food Festival.
The Venue: Daniels Spectrum
The Target Audience: VIPS, Latin and food media.
The Availability/Catalogue: tonight, it was all about the food, preps from Mexico as the Featured Country.
The Quote/Background: Food demonstrations by international chefs, kids' activities, Latin dance workshops, and a Pan American outdoors vendors market. Events are held inside Daniels Spectrum and on the neighboring streets Regent Park Boulevard and St. David's Walk, creating a large outdoor street fair called the Pan American Market for visitors to discover the diverse cuisine and cultures of the Americas. Many Pan American food vendors and food trucks will sell specialties from their respective countries all weekend, bringing the Pan American flavours to Toronto. In addition, the Festival's Culinary Curator, Mary Luz Mejía, has put together a line-up of culinary talent to present food demonstrations and participate in international food competitions judged by the public. A total of twenty-five Pan American chefs will demo dishes, including: Chefs Federico Martinez (first winner of Master Chef Colombia), Ryan Wilson-Lall (chef de cuisine at the AGO's FRANK restaurant), Paola Solorzano (representing this year's host country, Mexico), Elias Salazar (competing in Heladisimo with his Peruvian cacao and quinoa paleta), Cristian Heise (winner of PanAm FoodFest's 2014 Best Tamale, represents Chile in Empanada Battle), and Pedro Quintanilla (from Bloom Restaurant in Bloor West Village, representing Cuba, who will demo his Picadillo Cubano). There will be an Empanada Battle (Saturday night) and a Masa Mas Lucha Libra battle for regional Mexican dishes featuring masa-based preps (Sunday).  On Monday, there is the Heladisimo ice cream competition.
The Food: we went mainly for the foods to taste. There were speeches, dancers and singers for later in the evening, but for us it was all about the food. There were seven wonderful examples of Mexican food in small bites. We began at Frida's (a fave Mexican restaurant we have been going to for years), with their  aromatic panucho con cochinita pibil (a pork specialty from Yucatan); Carmen's Cocina Espanola featured an exotic Mayan masa dish with pork belly; Chef de la Rosa, a catering firm, did a dynamic pulled pork mole on lettuce leaf (great texture); another caterer, Paola Solorzano from Santo Pecado produced a spicy seafood and shrimp seviche on taco; Los Colibris did a zesty tamarind seviche that included mango and chips; Valentina, another caterer, did a wonderful cascabel chili braised beef cheek tostada with her three additional sauces (including a smokey and a mild pico de gallo); and the cheese course at the end came from Tropical Trading, serving Les Fromages Latino (rich Mexican cream, local cheeses that were fried or served with guava paste, and others) – sort of like the icing on the cake!
The Downside: the reception started late, and I was disappointed that there were no more wines to taste other than the Barefoot Moscato.
The Upside: a chance to talk with the food chefs and the Tequila sponsors (Herradura and El Jimador).
The Contact Person: or
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.


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