By Natalie Taylor
Kirsten West, “The Culinary Explorer,” is an international chef and cooking instructor living and working in San Miguel de Allende. She has traveled to the different regions of Mexico for more than 25 years studying Mexican cuisine. During those years she has had many wonderful teachers from home cooks to professional cooks. She has also learned from chefs who are authorities of the cuisine such as Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless with whom she collaborated for eight years. She was also personal chef to Mick Jagger but doesn’t want to talk too much about her time with him saying, “I don’t want to damage his image as a bad-boy…he is quite a nice man.”
Her fascination with the culture of Mexico started at the age of 12 in her native Germany. Her history class introduced her to Mexican culture and she was enchanted right away. She finally visited Mexico with the intention of exploring its archeological ruins. Instead, she fell in love with Mexican food when she saw the rich offerings at the markets that surpassed anything she had ever seen. She came to understand how this fascinating cuisine had influenced the cuisines of Europe and Asia and developed a true passion that motivated her food studies. To this day, Mexican cuisine never ceases to amaze and surprise her.
We invite you to join Mujeres en Cambio for a unique event that will forever change your views about a plant that is both familiar and highly unusual. West will focus on the lowly peanut—a New World plant that is now used in cuisines all over the world. She will explain the plant’s astonishing process of growing, blooming, and then burrowing underground to form the pods that contain peanuts. You will find out how it is used in cooking and specifically how peanuts are used in Mexican cuisine. And finally, she will prepare before your eyes three unique and distinct recipes featuring peanuts as part of the ingredients.
You should also check out West’s cooking school right here in the city. It’s a great place where you can learn many of her culinary techniques and combinations of ingredients as she prepares featured dishes. You will also have the opportunity to meet her doppelganger, a mojiganga made to resemble West who stands proudly in the kitchen. La Piña Azul Escuela de Cocina, is located on Orizaba 39A. Contact: 415 101 4155 or US phone number 312 602 9650.
For those who register but are unable to attend on that date the video will be available for two weeks after. You will also receive an informative document about peanuts and all the recipes.
All money collected goes toward scholarships to educate rural girls and young women of San Miguel.