“More than Just Tapas” Food trends and culture in 21st-century Spain

Presented by
Blanca Valencia
Spanish Food Specialist, Cooking Teacher


In the last decade Spain has earned a reputation as a star of the culinary world, but this honor is not due to paella or tortilla but to molecular gastronomy. In a country so rich in regional foods, culture and products, this association is not always fair or correct.

In a country where food traditions are millenary, one feels the influence of the Romans, the Jews, the Moors and the Americas, and Spanish food culture has evolved into something very diverse, rich and at times perplexing. In some respects Spain is deeply traditional and in others there is a peculiar modernity.

On the traditional side Spain still reveres the pig, and pork products are elevated to iconic status in the form of the Iberian or black-hoofed pig. Having several ham cutters at your wedding is still the ultimate status symbol.

On the modern side Spain is the land of Thermomix, and every good housewife (whether stay at home or not) is besotted with this German cooking robot, which weighs, stirs, kneads, stews, chops and much more, and retails for about 1200 USD. For the working mom there is now the convenience of ready-made gazpacho and tortilla where once they would have spent hours making them from scratch.

Do join us so we can savor and sample Spain’s culinary delights and culture.

Blanca Valencia grew up in Spain and Latin America.  She was educated in Virginia and started work as a management consultant in Spain, moving to London in 2000. Food has always been a passion in her life, and, in 2003, she made a career change and left consulting to study at Le Cordon Bleu.  Having graduated with a Grand Diplome, she has spent the past 10 years working in the culinary industry. Some of her most notable experience has been in London as test kitchen cook at Books for Cooks and assistant at Blagden fishmongers, and in Spain, managing the cooking school at Alambique and as an intern at El Bulli Hotel in Seville. In Chicago she has taught Spanish cuisine at World Kitchen, collaborated with Common Threads as an instructor and was a Spanish Food Specialist for JDY Gourmet.

Saturday, December 8, 2012
10 a.m. to Noon
Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts
900 N. North Branch Street, Chicago
(Located just north of W. Chicago Ave. at N. Halsted St.)
Free Parking

Cost of the lecture program  is $5, $3 for students
and no charge for CHC members and Kendall students and faculty.
To reserve, please call 847/432-8255847/432-8255.
Or e-mail your reservation to: Culinary.Historians@gmail.com.