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Yucatán Dinner - May 2, 2009

The Iowa-Yucatan Partners of the Americas is hosting Chef Minelia Romero and her daughter Paulina Espinosa from Mérida, Mexico for a return visit to Iowa. As part of the exchange, Chef Minelia and Paulina will work with graduate student and Chef Allen Ortiz and Extension Specialist Catherine Strohbehn in organizing a Yucatán Dinner on Saturday, May 2nd at the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom. 

Chef Minelia is a well-known chef in Yucatán who specializes in creating contemporary menus from traditional Yucatecan regional dishes, while also operating a catering business, Minelia Gourmet, with her daughter.  Chef Minelia and Paulina traveled to Iowa last year as part of the cultural exchange between Iowa and Yucatan. In February, HRIM Extension Specialist, Dr. Catherine Strohbehn, traveled to Yucatan for a week to work with the aspiring chefs of Yucatan and food safety inspectors.  In addition to the dinner, Chef Minelia will be presenting a demonstration of how to prepare traditional  Yucatán Cuisine on Friday, May 1st from 3:30pm – 5:00pm in the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom for AESHM student, staff, and faculty; reservations are not needed. The demonstration will feature queso relleno and empanadas. This is sponsored by HRIM Extension.

Saturday night’s Yucatan Dinner will showcase the cuisine of Chef Minelia, Paulina and Chef Allan Ortiz, a graduate student in the Foodservice and Lodging Management graduate program.  Allan will work with student from the Graduate Student Association of Hospitality Management and The National Honor Society of Minorities in Hospitality to prepare the three-course dinner.  Two different seating times are available for the meal at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm; consisting of a menu showcasing:  Cóctel de Horchata (rice milk and cinnamon beverage), Sopa de Lima (classic Yucatecan soup made with chicken and lime), Cocinita Pibil (achiote-rubbed pork baked in banana leaves), Arroz y frijoles (Yucatecan rice and refried black beans), and Dulce de Papaya con Queso de Bola (candied papaya with edam cheese squares).  Contact Jane Edwards at or 233-4266 for information about the dinner – seating is limited.