Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Latin American Cuisine Summit Shines Spotlight on Mexican Cuisine and Culture

The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio to Host Four-Day ¡Arriba Mexico!

San Antonio, TX – The tastes and culture of Mexico will be celebrated in San Antonio October 17–20. Now in its fourth year, The Culinary Institute of America’s Latin American Cuisine Summit and Festival will focus on Mexico’s culinary heritage, contributions, influences, and staple ingredients, including agave, cacao, corn, and chiles. With a changing focus each year, this year’s four-day event is ¡Arriba Mexico!.

This year’s Summit is presented by sponsors Sysco and Tequila Patrón, and features a student day on Tuesday, October 16; professional days on Wednesday and Thursday, October 17 and 18; a special dinner at Nao Restaurant; and a community-focused festival for food enthusiasts on Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20. New to the food festival this year is a two-day boot camp focusing on popular appetizers and hors d’oeuvre from Mexico.

“Mexican cuisine is a unique combination of bold flavors and textures,” said CIA Lecturing Instructor Sofia Sada Cervantes. “We’ve developed a program full of interactive demonstrations and hands-on experiences led by the top innovators in Mexican cuisine.”

This year’s presenters are food personalities and chefs including Iliana de la Vega, co-owner and chef of El Naranjo in Austin, TX; German Gonzalez, owner and Master Distiller at T1 Tequila Uno; Armando Munoz, founder of Instituto Gastronomico y Restaurantero de Mexico; Benjamin Udave, executive chef at SYSCO Los Angeles; Hugo Ortega, Houston restauranteur and 2017 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest; Ed Avis, publisher and co-founder of El Restaurante magazine; Fany Gerson, owner of La NewYorkina; Gerardo Vazquez Lugo, executive chef of Nicos in Mexico City; Jose Ramon Castillo, founder of Que Bo! A Chocolateria Mexicana Evolutiva; Marc Misseri Bastide, director of innovation, development, and research at El Globo in Mexico City; Roberto Santibanez, chef/owner of Fonda restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn; and William Scanlon III, founder of Heavy Metl Premium Imports.

Student day starts with high school students from the San Antonio Independent School District learning about Mexican cuisine, its history, and how to cook with Mexican foods and flavors. A similar session will be held for CIA students in the afternoon.

During the professional portion of the event, participants will explore Mexico’s culinary heritage, contributions, and influences. Attendees will also deep dive into applications and uses of the staple ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Vibrant panel discussions will delve into topics like “What’s next for Mexican cuisine?”

The schedule is packed with hands-on sessions, break-outs, beverage tastings and seminars, lectures, panel discussions, meals, and more. Registration for the professional summit is open and is $325 per person.

Thursday’s activities conclude with dinner at Nao Restaurant, featuring guest chefs. This Mexican-themed dinner is open to the public and costs $85 per person.

The public part of the festival includes interactive classes and tastings that highlight staples in Mexican cuisine, including favorite dishes, desserts, and street foods. For more information about Arriba Mexico or to register for the public foodie festival or boot camp, visit us online.

For more information about the professional summit, visit

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Chef Doreen Colondres presents at the 2017 Latin American Cuisine Summit at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio. This year’s Summit, ¡Arriba Mexico! takes place October 17–20, focusing on the culinary heritage, influences, and ingredients of Mexican cuisine. (Photo credit: Darren Abate/CIA)
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About The Culinary Institute of America:

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, and applied food studies. The college also offers executive education, certificate programs, and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of nearly 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food world. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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