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Hot Sauce Fest Demo Tent 2012

A rundown on the hot and spicy

By Claudia Alarcón, Fri., Aug. 24, 2012

Edgar Torres
Edgar Torres
Photo by Sandy Carson

A new venue for the Hot Sauce Fest this year means a new layout for the cooking demo tent, but the presentation schedule and awesomeness of the presenters will not change. We've also recruited amazing talent for the chef demos this year, and we couldn't be happier! We're also thrilled to have Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts back as our sponsoring partners.

As always, the students and chef instructors will prepare the salsas in advance at their campus kitchens and will be passing out samples to all demo attendees. I'm a sucker for a good cause and a good salsa, so I'm back as emcee of the cooking tent for the second year, foregoing my place at the preliminary judges' table.

Presentations will take place from noon to 3pm, and will start promptly on the hour. Each presentation lasts 30-40 minutes, including time for audience questions. The tent will be at the east end of Fiesta Gardens, facing Jesse Segovia Street, and directly across from the music stage. Here's the schedule so you don't miss a minute of the spicy action!

Noon-1pm: We could not have asked for a more exciting chef to kick off the festivities than Mexico City native Iliana de la Vega. Aside from being co-owner of the fantastic El Naranjo Restaurant with her husband Ernesto Torrealba, Chef de la Vega also instructs on regional cuisines of Mexico at the Culinary Institute of America's San Antonio campus. She's a fountain of knowledge and an experienced, dynamic presenter who is not to be missed. She will show how to make three distinctly different green salsas out of the same basic ingredients.

1-2pm: As always, we'll have a chef instructor from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, and this year it will be Chef Paul Macry. A graduate of the Western Culinary Institute (now Le Cordon Bleu Portland) and former chef at the Austin Country Club, Macry has been a Chef Instructor at LCB for nine years. He teaches the International component of the program called Cuisines Across Cultures, and is known as an ice carver extraordinaire. He is also a four-year veteran Hot Sauce Contest preliminary judge, familiar with the heat. Chef Macry will show us a recipe in the specialty sauce category – spicy pineapple chutney – and share interesting ideas on how to serve it with seafood.

2-3pm: Chef Edgar Torres from Mi Madre's Restaurant closes out the day with one of his restaurant's signature red salsas, a tasty offering using two kinds of dried ­chiles – guajillo and árbol. Austinite Torres started his culinary career at an early age, cooking at his family's restaurant, the east side institution Mi Madre's. Following this passion, he furthered his education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and continued his rising career at Bertrand at Mr. A's in San Diego. Shortly after marrying Christina Milian, whom he met while studying at the CIA, the couple returned to Austin with the dream of opening a restaurant of their own. Chef Torres' vision of modern Mexican cuisine is rooted in tradition and executed with European techniques.

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