Fonda San Miguel Hosts All-Women Guest Chef Dinner Series

Four-course dinner prepared by celebrated sister chefs

For sister chef duo María Elidé Castillo and Delfina Castillo Tzab, cooking has always been tied to establishing their economic independence. Now they’re celebrating with a four-course dinner in the Fonda San Miguel kitchen.

Celebrated sister chefs, Delfina Castillo Tzab and María Elide Castillo (Courtesy of Paula Biehler PR)

Castillo, a single mother, was inspired to start her culinary career at the suggestion of her mother, a homemaker in their native town of Motul, who was celebrated for her ingenuity in and out of the kitchen. “I felt school was not for me and this is why I learned to earn my own money,” Castillo says. “The responsibility of being a single parent to my children is what pressured and moved me to survive. This is when my mother suggested for me to go into cooking. I wasn’t too sure about it, but I took her advice. I thought I would have to sell a lot in order to support my children. The kitchen was not something I thought I could do.”

Slowly, Castillo began establishing her business. “In 1996 my mother started teaching me the secrets of the kitchen and it was what my aunt had taught my mother,” she says. She went door-to-door throughout her neighborhood, selling her mother’s recipes for achiote, habanero sauce, and ground garlic spread.

“I would buy and sell every day,” Castillo says. “During the day I would sell, and at night I would use and cook my products. It was very tiring, but this way I could keep my children with me in the kitchen. Soon I realized I could sell my products at events.”

Castillo began partnering with various organizations throughout the Yucatán Peninsula to sell her homemade condiments. “For 12 years this was my life,” she says. “Working hard to educate my children.”

Relleno Negro preparation (Courtesy of Paula Biehler PR)

In 2008, Maria took her business to the next level by partnering with her sister Delfina and the other women in their family to create Semilla de Dioses (Seed of Gods), a culinary cooperative which produces small-batch, gourmet takes on the traditional condiments of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. “We worked hard getting better products and doing presentations and keeping an eye out for quality,” says Castillo. “Slowly we began looking at other towns outside of Yucatán. In 2011, this helped us obtain first place in national En Fonaes. We received recognition from the women’s association.”

Now the sisters are making their next leap, all the way to Austin to the kitchen of Fonda San Miguel, as part of their 2019 All-Women Guest Chef Dinner Series on July 14, 6:30-9pm, starting with cocktails. The four-course dinner menu, which includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian iterations, will showcase the culinary traditions of the sisters’ family in dishes like tostada de tzic de venado with salbut de pavo, relleno negro horneado queso relleno, and caballero pobre, queso napolitano with queso de bola for dessert.

“I never imagined my talent would be in the kitchen,” says Castillo, “But my mother was right. She told me to follow my dreams and you will always have food on the table.”

For ticket info, see the event page.

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