Over 120 people enjoyed traditional Yucatan cuisine prepared by Chef Minelia Romero, her daughter Paulina Espinosa, and Chef Allan Ortiz, a graduate student in the Foodservice and Lodging Management Program at ISU. The Iowa-Yucatan Partners of the Americas hosted Chef Minelia and Paulina who traveled from Merida, Mexico in the second part of a Chef/Food Safety Exchange.
Catherine Strohbehn, HRIM Extension Specialist, had visited Merida earlier this year and given presentations to health inspectors and culinary students about safe practices in retail foodservices. Chef Minelia and Paulina worked with Chef Allen Ortiz, Catherine Strohbehn and other members of the Iowa chapter of Iowa-Yucatan partners to organize the special event which was held May 2nd in the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom.
There was an extensive display of Yucatan attire and other materials, brought by Iowa Partners members, such as Paulie Williams, who has quite an extensive personal collection of Yucatan items from her many visits to this region of Mexico. HRIM Student Clubs, the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, and the Graduate Student Association in Hospitality Management assisted with preparations and service. Members of Iowa Partners hosted and served the meal.
President William Edwards spoke briefly about the goals of the Partnership and recognized the contributions of Chef Minelia and Paulina in sharing their knowledge and skills with Yucatan Cuisine. Over 25 students and AESHM and Extension staff sampled traditional Yucatan Cuisine during a demonstration featuring queso relleno (made with Edam cheese) and empanadas. The demonstration was sponsored by HRIM Extension.
Chef Minelia preparing the rice for the dinner’s main course.
Allan Ortiz, Amy Casselman, and Paulina Espinosa (left to right) preparing items for the Yucatan Cuisine demonstration.
John Bustos, a hospitality undergraduate, folding napkins in preparation for the dinner.