College of Liberal Arts

Oaxacan Chef to Speak on Colonial Cuisines of Mexico

Thursday Sep 9, 2010 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM | Auditorium, Mexican American Cultural Center, 601 River Street

The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies presents a talk titled “The Culinary Birth of a Nation: Gastronomy and the Making of Mexican Identity," by renowned Oaxacan chef Iliana de la Vega.

In this engaging talk Illana de la Vega explores watershed moments in Mexican gastronomy that gave rise to a distinct culinary identity. She will speak about the classic dishes created in the convents and palaces of the colonial cities of Mexico, and show how they became an essential part of Mexico's culture. De la Vega will examine this rich tradition through the turbulent era of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and conclude with a look forward at contemporary Mexican food, including the recent designation by UNESCO of Mexican cuisine as the first to be included in its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. De la Vega will prepare samples of the classic dishes she will discuss for her presentation.

Iliana de la Vega has won international acclaim for her modern interpretations of Mexican food, especially the cuisines of Oaxaca. Formerly the chef at the highly regarded Oaxaca City-based restaurant El Naranjo, she has relocated to Austin with her family and has opened a trailer incarnation of El Naranjo in downtown Austin serving some of her well-known dishes, with a full-service restaurant in the works. De la Vega is also Chef-Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, where she teaches on Mexican and Latin American cuisines.

The Mexican Center of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at the University of Texas has organized the speaker series Foodways of Mexico: Past, Present, and Future. Running through November 2010, it explores lesser known aspects of Mexico’s rich culinary history, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. The series was organized by Claudia Alarcón, an Austin-based food writer who is a native of Mexico City and has written extensively on foodways topics for a variety of publications, including the Austin Chronicle.

Additional talks in the Foodways of Mexico series will take place throughout the year. Check the LLILAS Mexico 2010 Web site for updates.

For more information, contact the Mexican Center at 512.232.2423 or Sponsored by the Mexican Center of LLILAS, University of Texas at Austin.


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