Saturday, May 2, 2009

Latino foods blended with other cuisines

Latino flavors being blended with other cuisines
By KELLY DiNARDO, News Ok, April 29, 2009

The latest thing in Latino cooking is a little less Latino.

The growing political and cultural clout of American Hispanics has infused the collective American dinner plate with the flavors of the Latino kitchen. And it turns out that culinary cultural exchange goes in both directions.

As Hispanic communities have grown and increasingly rubbed elbows with neighbors, the American Latino kitchen has changed, too, adopting more of the flavors and ingredients of other cuisines, says Daisy Martinez of Food Network’s "Viva Daisy!”

The result is an exciting fusion of Hispanic, Asian, Italian and all-American cooking.

"I’ve had Southern barbecue pulled pork tacos. I’ve seen Mexican sushi with jicama and ceviche shrimp,” says Ken Rubin, a culinary anthropologist at The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institute of Portland in Oregon. "Cuisines are very fluid.”

Some Hispanic chefs, such as Jose Garces, an Ecuadorian-American who runs several restaurants in Philadelphia, have built careers out of meshing other cuisines with Hispanic cooking.

Garces recently opened Chifa in Philadelphia, a Peruvian-Chinese spot inspired by Douglas Rodriguez’s nuevo Latino movement, which put haute Latino cuisine on the menu, and the molecular gastronomy of Spanish chef Ferran Adria.

Garces creates dishes such as a traditional hiramasa ceviche topped with a mustard foam.

"We take a traditional cooking style like ceviche and add one culinary technique like the aerated mustard and create something totally different,” Garces says. "The use of techniques and applying them to traditional foods is the core of how things have changed.”

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