Late August and early September seem to be the default month for major culinary events. In Peru, there’s Mistura, not to mention the Latin America’s 50 Best Ceremony and whatever odd lineup Gelinaz! Has planned. In Denmark, there’s the MAD Symposium. One major culinary event that might not be on your radar but should is Panama Gastronomica in Panama City. This is THE food event in Central America and is getting bigger and better every year. The fourth incarnation of the festival, organized by Panamanian clebrity chef Elena Hernandez, runs August 30th –September 1st (2013) at the ATLAPA Convention Center. Last year’s event attracted more than 12,000 attendees and even more are expected this year. This year’s theme is “Gastronomy in the Digital Era.”
Panama Gastronomica 2013 Highlights
La Mesa de Chef = Invited and Local chefs partnering up an creating tasting menus at local restaurants in the days prior to the event.
August 28: Restaurant Solo (inside the Riande Granada Urban Hotel) chefs David Quesada and Alfonso Victoria Riande cook with chiricano chef Fulvio Miranda.
August 28: Chef Fabien Migny at Ten Bistro (inside Hotel Manrey) with Alexander Rojas from the Islas Secas Resort.
August 29: Alfonso de la Espriella from La Trona cooks with Nikkei chef Hajime Kasuga from Peru.
August 29: Mario Castrellón of Maito cooks with Peruvian chef Mario Navarrete Jr, from restaurant Raza in Montreal.
Chefs Unplugged= Lectures and demonstrations from some of the top chefs in Panama and throughout the Americas, divided into 4 sections *reserve directly at the restaurants
Peru: Peruvian chefs Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (Amaz, Malabar, Aqua Expeditions), Hajime Kasuga (Le Cordon Bleu Peru), and Mario Navarrete Jr (Raza in Montreal)
Nueva Cocina Panameña: Panamanian chefs Francisco Castro, Mario Castrellón, Charlie Collins, José Olmedo Carles, and Fulvio Miranda Chiriqui
Pastry: Antonio Bachour (Miami), Rachel Pol (Panama), and David Quezada (Barcelona / Panama),
Trends: New York based molecular mixologist Junior Merino, Madrid born chef Andres Madrigal that will soon open a restaurant in Panama City, and Caracas chef Elias Murciano.
Patio del Sabor= food trucks and food stalls serving street food
It was a hit last year. This year it has expanded.
La Ruta del Vino=Wine!
Degustations, tastings, parings, etc.
Microbrew Fest=a segment on local craft beers
A micro version of the larger Panama Micro Brew Festival.
Copa Visit Panama Gastronomica III=a culinary school competition
Delegations from national and international students face off.
Tickets can be purchased online through TicketPlus or in person at Supermercados Rey, Farmacias Metro, or the Multiplaza Mall.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.