Get Cooking hosted a dinner and a movie event as part of the Relish Film on Food Festival. The festival, co-produced by The Tomato‘s Mary Bailey and Maria Iacobelli, and in it’s first year, showcased food on the big screen. The festival screened films to inspire and entertain, from documentaries and classics, to culinary dramas and gastronomic extravaganzas. Bailey felt that films and food go hand in hand, as there is nothing more dramatic than a scene set at a restaurant on a Saturday night.
As part of the festival, Get Cooking hosted a dinner and a movie event, that included a beautiful four course dinner by chef Israel Alvarez, and a screening of the film Tortilla Soup. Guests were treated to a Mexican fiesta, with authentic flavours and traditional recipes. Israel, originally from Mexico City, crafted each course with inspiration from the movie. It was a fun-filled evening with incredible food.
To start the evening off, the canapé consisted of a simple cherry tomato stuffed with perfectly seasoned guacamole and topped with a tiny round tortilla chip. A delicate sprig of cilantro added a hint of freshness to the bite. The canapé was featured in movie when the father, Martin, served the same dish to his daughters during a family dinner. It was beautifully presented, and was a fantastic start to the evening.
The next course was, naturally, Tortilla Soup. Sopa de Tortilla is a common Mexican dish served before a meal. Israel’s presentation was beautiful, first serving a bowl lined with crispy tortillas, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and queso fresco (a soft, fresh Mexican cheese). Staff then came around and poured fragrant hot broth into our bowls. The aromas were intoxicating, and brought me right back to my time spent in Oaxaca, Mexico. The broth had incredible flavour, with a subtle mix of spices. As we ate, the queso fresco melted, yet the tortillas stayed crispy until the last bite. This one was a guest favourite for the evening!
For the next course, Israel served Tamales stuffed with Quesillo (a stringy cheese from Oaxaca) wrapped in a Poblano pepper. This triple-layered dish was served on top of a spicy tomatillo sause, with jalapenos, serrano peppers and cilantro. The plate was beautifully garnished with silky avocado rounds and little dollops of crema. The presentation was stunning. This dish packed a little more heat than the previous courses, showing guests some true Mexican flavour.
Up next came the star of the evening: Short ribs braised in Pasilla Sauce and dusted with chili ash. The short ribs were slow cooked sous-vide for 17 hours (!), before being slathered in a flavourful Pasilla sauce. The short rib was served alongside a slice of chayote, a traditional Mexican squash, plantain puree topped with a sauteed plantain, and a tasty buttered carrot. Again, this dish was beautifully presented, and left guests in awe.
In the film, there is a scene where the chef saves a dinner from certain disaster by incorporating the ruined ingredients of a failed dessert into a beautiful bread pudding. Inspired by the film, Israel serves Capirotada (Mexican bread pudding) for dessert. He mixed cubed french bread, cinnamon, star anise, pilloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), macadamia nuts, pecans, apples, and goat milk together and gave it time to soak up the liquid. He then topped the pudding with fresh whip cream, a delicate slice of Cotija cheese, caramel sauce and some dried blueberries. This show stopping dessert rounded off the meal incredibly well.
Guests were both impressed and inspired after the meal. If you are looking to learn all about Mexican Cuisines, we offer Mexican cooking classes. Visit our Class Calendar for more information and to join Isreal’s next cooking class on December 16, click here!