A Cocina Culmination

Ten months ago, Carlos and joked with family and friends in California that we ought to teach Tasmanians what real Mexican food is all about. Before leaving for our year of adventure, we ate as much Mexican food as we possibly could for fear of not seeing it for fifty-two weeks. On my twenty seventh birthday dinner I requested, you guessed it, Mexican food. It’s not like we normally eat and breath the cuisine but it became a symbol of home we both felt reluctant to let go of. And once we arrived in Hobart, Carlos and I both decided we didn’t need to. It was only days after settling in that we found Spice World downtown and the gateway to dried chiles. From there we began making salsas and tortillas. It reminded us of where we were from and conversely, how happy we were to be in Tasmania.

On Tuesday, our Cocina de Mama pop-up venture came to a beautiful end (at least for now). Carlos and I hosted a cooking class at Bottega Rottolo, a teaching kitchen where I currently work. Our class sold out a week in advance with fifteen people and more on a waiting list. It was the perfect way to end what was once just a wild idea to cook Mexican food for Tasmanians because we taught a group of enthusiastic locals all the secrets we know of making tacos. And if tacos aren’t the most fundamental type of Mexican food, I clearly don’t know what is.

To put it mildly, the students loved the class. I am perfectly comfortable saying that– they told us so! It was fun, it was lively, it was messy, it was delicious. We made carnitas and tortillas and fresh salsas. We served Sol, we created a Chile Guide, we played mariachi music, we got everyone to participate. Nothing we made turned out perfect and to us, that was perfect. The class gave students the courage to make Mexican food at home from scratch. People always say “do what you love” but until the other night I wasn’t sure what it is I really loved. I came to Tasmania slightly worried that maybe I would never really love any form of work. Standing in front of an audience with an apron, my food processor and a sense of confidence I haven’t felt in a long, long time changed that forever.

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