The Day of the Dead is not a day of mourning in Latin America, but a day of celebration. Families gather at the graves of loved ones who have passed and have a party. They bring the deceased’s favourite foods, music and things in a celebration honouring their life. This annual event, which takes place on November 1st and 2nd (coinciding with All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day), is a day of feasting and joy.
To coincide with this year’s Day of the Dead, 7 local Latin American chefs have joined forces for a one-night extravaganza that is sure to have diners jumping and the dead wishing they were here to take part.
OLA – Of Latin America (“7 chefs, 1 kitchen, 1 hot night”) will take place on October 26th at Caju Restaurant with proceeds from the event directed toward the charity Youth Link which allows street kids to make a new start. Tickets are $100 or $140 with wine pairings.
The evening is also a celebration of local Latin American cookery, with the participating chefs hailing from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Each chef has taken on a course in this 7-course meal but everyone is pitching in to help each other in the spirit of co-operation. During the media preview, at one point we all stopped mid-bite as the chefs started singing together in Caju’s kitchen. And if that’s what happens at the preview luncheon, just imagine how much fun the dinner itself is sure to be!
Each dish will be accompanied by Latin American wine pairings selected by sommelier Drew Innis.
The OLA – Of Latin America event is sold out as of publication of this article, but don’t let that stop you from checking out the work of the participating chefs at their own establishments.
I am befuddled by people who don’t like food. It’s partially why I hate the term “foodie” so much – who doesn’t like food? Who among us isn’t a “foodie”? But I guess it’s fair to note that some of us care a bit more than others. Not just fuel to keep us alive, food is beauty and art and love, all rolled into one. A perfect meal can be as emotional as a first kiss or a last goodbye.
Which is why I found myself sitting in Frida restaurant last week, barely able to hold back the well of tears.
Having just eaten what might possibly be one of the best meals of my life, I found myself clinging to Chef Pilar Cabrera Arroyo’s hand, unable to let go, uttering “thank you” over and over again. Yes, I’d had a fair amount to drink, including a gourd of mescal, but the sheer brilliance of Cabrera’s 30-ingredient authentic Oaxacan mole will likely remain one of the highlights of my food writing career.