I’ve attended almost every Culinary Institute of America at Greystone World of Flavors conference in St. Helena since they started with Mexico way back when. These conferences are for food professionals only, which is a shame because they are phenomenal. I always get to try something I’ve never had before. That first year, way back when, it was traditionally-made conchinita pibil—a pig roasted in the ground (they actually dug a pit on the grounds of the CIA) by an expert pibil maker from a village in the Yucatán—a man who had never been out of his village, much less hung out a castle-like facility such as the CIA.
The World of Flavors conference at the Culinary Institute of America was last weekend. The topic? Street food—but of course!
In the CIA’s high-tech conference rooms and demo kitchens, famous chefs and food writers pondered the singular craftsmanship of street food, the different types of street food, the je ne sais quoi of street food. Rick Bayless who just opened Xoco in Chicago—a torta-driven, street food concept—waxed poetic about the importance of the initial approach to the street food stall: the smells, the sights, even the car exhaust.