Interview with Sasha Correa, director of Mesamérica
By Jade Arroyo
The gastronomic event Mesa Abierta, organized by the cooking congress Mesamérica, will be held in the city on March 22 and 23. This event promises to offer various activities and events related to food and to promote and enhance the gastronomic potential of San Miguel. Atención interviewed Mesamérica’s current director, Sasha Correa.
Jade Arroyo: Why did you decided to expand Mesamérica and create Mesa Abierta?
Sasha Correa: After two years of creating the premier culinary meeting in our country, we decided to diversify and deepen the culinary potential of a World Heritage city. We wanted to expand beyond being a meeting primarily for chefs and cooks to include diners. We began this growth with Mesa Abierta, a gigantic picnic that includes producers in the area and people outside the area of the kitchen. We also want to help things evolve outside of Mexico City.
JA: What is the importance of promoting regional cuisine?
SC: There is no such thing as a Mexican cuisine—there’s the cuisine of Oaxaca, Puebla, Yucatán, and so on. Mexican food is the sum of all its regional cuisines, of which Mexico has many. The commitment is to strengthen regional cuisine and at the same time enrich San Miguel.
JA: Why did you choose San Miguel, and what benefits it will bring?
SC: We wanted to contribute to the gastronomic empowerment of San Miguel. We want to help this movement. A bunch of things are arising: San Miguel enticed us with a lot of potential from the suppliers you have on your local organic farms and food producers. We thought we could bring them together and provide a platform to contribute to this development.
We also want to emphasize the sense of belonging and national identity as it relates to food, offering the original quality and an experience that will help highlight the city in the international culinary scene. Enrique Olvera, chef and president of Mesamérica, has a close relationship with San Miguel. He saw the culinary development that was taking place and its great potential, which launched this initiative.
JA: What will Mesa Abierta provide to the public?
SC: Mesa Abierta has two components. One is special dinners held by renowned international chefs attending the event in San Miguel, people like Mauro Colagreco (two Michelin stars) and Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli (The Frankies), along with renowned local chefs. A second goal is to focus on local ingredients in San Miguel, which are distinguished by a wide variety of organic, regional and seasonal foods.
JA: What is the picnic going to be like?
SC: It will provide an outdoor space for dining in a different, relaxed way, so that food becomes the main reason for the event. We will start at 11am with live cooking demos, tastings, workshops and recreational activities for all ages. Each day will end with the screening of a film by GIFF. Holding this picnic in San Miguel, a multicultural city, will be a fun experience.
JA: What are the future plans for Mesamérica?
SC: After San Miguel we are going to do a third edition concentrating on street food, from May 21 to 23. The theme is urban expressions and street food, not because it’s a fad, but because it is a real part of the food scene; Mexico is one of the main capitals of street food in the world. Mexico eats in the streets, and we want to share that with the world. More details will be announced soon.
Tickets for the Mesa Abierta picnic are available on the website www.mesamerica.mx, as well as the official program of the event. Dinners at the various restaurants can be booked directly at each of them