Continuing Education

Latin American feast

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The flavours and cultures of Latin America were recently on display at IFT. The Institute was one of the partners of the 2016 Latin American Cultural Festival, organised by the Macao Association for the Promotion of Exchange between Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

The festival took place in August and September. It brought chefs from Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela to the Mong-Há Campus to celebrate their national traditions. Several diplomatic representatives from nations in Latin America also visited IFT in order to deliver presentations about their countries.

“It was very important for Venezuela to join this festival because of the good diplomatic relationship between our country and China,” says Ms. Iris Ruiz Navarro, the country’s Consul in Hong Kong and Macao. She was one of the diplomats making presentations at IFT. “It was important because it allowed us to showcase our culture and our cuisine,” Ms. Ruiz Navarro adds.

Ms. Mariella Molina, Consul General of Ecuador in Guangzhou, also attended the Latin American Cultural Festival and delivered a presentation on her country to IFT students and scholars. She says it is critical for Ecuador to boost its profile in Asia: many people in this part of the world already consume Ecuadorian products but are unaware of it, she explains.

“How do we change that? By being here, exchanging information and ideas, and letting people know more about Ecuador. That is the starting point for further cooperation,” Ms. Molina says.

Consul of Colombia in Hong Kong and Macao, Ms. Diana Suárez, says she was happy with the feedback received during her IFT presentation. “Students were very curious about Columbia. They seemed amazed by the information we provided them about the country and its cultural and tourism diversity.”

Tasting the differences

A total of 3 cooking demos took place at IFT as part of the 2016 Latin American Cultural Festival. Each guest chef prepared a menu featuring traditional dishes from their home country, offering participants step-by-step instructions of the entire preparation process.

“Since IFT is a tourism school, students can adapt what we show them in these cooking demos to their own culture,” says Chef Alejandra Bermúdez from Colombia. “It will be helpful for them in their careers if they know different cooking methods and cuisines,” she adds.

During her cooking demo, Chef Bermúdez prepared some Colombian classics such as “empanadas” (a type of stuffed pastry) and cocadas (a coconut-base treat). “Here, people are surprised about everything,” she says. “They just want to try. They are open-minded about discovering a different culture, which is really great. I was not expecting that.”

Chef Yoiry Rodriguez Hernandez, from Cuba, also delivered a cooking demo at IFT. He says flavours are the main differentiator of national cuisines in Latin America.

“All Latin American countries use almost the same ingredients, because we have the same historic roots,” Chef Hernandez explains. “The difference is the techniques we use for cooking. The way Cuban food is different from other Latin American countries is in flavours,” he adds.

Chef Inocencio Viloria also points to the “unique flavours” of each Latin American cuisine. For his cooking demo at IFT, the Venezuelan chef says some ingredients were hard to find in Macao; but he was pleased to see that people were “open and receptive” to the flavours of his country.

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