Latin Food: The Latest Culinary Trend?

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Take a walk down any street in New York or stroll through the busiest neighborhoods of Chicago and you’ll be bombarded with dining options, most of which, these days, are all Latin. From taquerías to cafeterías serving up antojitos, Latin food is all the rage across the US. The culinary trend sparked a conversation amongst notable international chefs that included Iliana de la Vega of the CIA-San Antonio and El Naranjo, in Austin, Texas; Mark Miller, a chef and author in Sante Fe, N.M.; Roberto Santibañez of Fonda in Brooklyn, N.Y.during the “Business of Latin Flavors” panel part of the Culinary Institute of America’s recent “Latin Flavors, American Kitchens” seminar held in San Antonio. Among the various speakers was Chicago chef Rick Bayless, owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco in Chicago, who closed the seminar by sharing the importance of cultural awareness through cuisine. As an American making a living cooking authentic, Mexican cuisine, Bayless thrives on diversity. “What we find in this coming respect for the cuisines of Latin America is greater diversity,” he said. “And in diversity, we know, lies the bedrock of sustainability. On the flip side of that, is that it embraces pleasure. It brings us an enhanced quality of life, which I think is the bedrock of great culture.” [via Nation’s Restaurant News]