Award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot takes Americans on culinary tour of Cuba

Posted: 07-Oct-15 16:09

A James Beard Award-winning chef has been taking American travellers on a culinary trip through Cuba this week. Cuba Libre's Guillermo Pernot guided tourists through the bustling farmer's markets of Havana, into the private homes of renowned chefs, and to urban farms to teach them about the gastronomic delights of the Caribbean island.

Award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot takes Americans on culinary tour of Cuba

This week Cuba Libre's Guillermo Pernot, has been taking American travellers on a culinary expedition around Cuba.

The James Beard Award-winning chef took the tourists on a tour through the busy farmer's markets in Havana, to the private homes of renowned chefs, and out to urban farms, to provide an insight into the gastronomic culture of Cuba.

Rice, yucca, and beans have always been synonymous with Cuban dishes but the chef said the menus have changed over the years. Talking to WTOP Chef Pernot commented:

"[That plate] is loaded with starches, and that doesn't happen anymore. The plates are more delicate, and the delivery and the flavours are bold and direct."

Chef Pernot also explained:

"They're using the old ingredients - all of the native ingredients - but they're transforming them. You can still find a plate of malanga or yucca mashed with garlic mojo, but maybe now it's put in a mould with a little bit of micro cilantro or a little bit of pickled chili on top."

Asian spices have been incorporated into modern Cuban dishes, and many chefs experiment with different preparation methods such as tataki.

Over the last two decades, the food scene in Cuba mainly took place in the private homes of chefs - small and intimate makeshift restaurants, called "paladares". Both residents and tourists dined here, but the country is seeing an increase in new restaurants opening outside of the home.

"Now, you can actually hire a chef, hire a staff and open a business."

Explained Chef Pernot. This is the second trip to Cuba where he has led Americans on a culinary tour, and he's already planning another visit in March, 2016. He said:

"I have a feeling that Havana's going to become a very popular place, very very soon."

The Caribbean island is expecting an influx of American travellers following the recent resumed diplomatic relations between the U.S and Cuba, after more than 50 years of hostilities.

American residents can now travel to the island under 12 licenced categories for reasons including education, cultural people to people programmes, academic research, and professional purposes.


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