By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
A small group of wives of ambassadors and other foreign diplomats accredited in Mexico had an up close and personal class on how to prepare Italian cuisine from Mauro Chiecchio, the head chef at the Alfredo di Roma restaurant inside Mexico City’s upscale Presidente InterContinental in Colonia Polanco on Tuesday, June 12.
The cooking seminar included a lesson on how to make authentic Italian-style pasta from scratch, as well as several in-house recipes.
During the three-hour class, the ladies helped Chiecchio prepare a succulent four-course meal that included individual four-cheese pizzas with white truffle oil; an arugula, pecan and pear salad in balsamic vinegar and honey dressing; fettuccine Alfredo (the restaurant’s signature dish); and tiramisu, the layered coffee-flavored dessert that is believed to have originated in the Veneto region of northern Italy.
Before the class, the ladies – who included Abla Obeidat, wife of Jordanian Ambassador to Mexico Ibrahim Adbulkarim Mansoor Obeidat; Amina Belouchi, wife of Moroccan Ambassador to Mexico Mohamed Chafiki; Choi Jung-ae, wife of South Korean Ambassador to Mexico Kim Sang-il; and Nora Duncan, wife of U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires in Mexico William Duncan – were welcome by Presidente InterContinental public relations director Isabel Azpiri and given a guided tour of a collection of contemporary Huichol art that is currently on display in the hotel’s lobby.
The artwork, which will remain on display inside the Presidente InterContinental Hotel through June 26, is part of the Yawí art collection.
The works incorporate traditional pre-Hispanic patterns and style with modern-day themes such as soccer and auto-racing, attaching tiny beads and/or thread with bees wax on large surfaces to create designs related to corn, deer and peyote cactus.
The ladies were also given a private tour of the Presidente InterContinental’s massive wine cellars, the largest in Latin America, with more than 30,000 different labels at any given time.
After the class, the “future master chefs” sat down and enjoyed the meal that they had helped to prepare.
Also attending the class were Yudith Schneider, whose husband, Norbert Schneider, works for World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Nergish Weisberg, whose husband, Robert Weisberg, works for the U.S. Embassy, and Dr. Melissa T. Castro.
Long a mainstay for authentic Italian cuisine in Mexico, Alfredo di Roma underwent a four-month, $2 million renovation earlier this year, and was reopened last March with a brand new, more contemporary and sophisticated look, along with a revamped bill of fare.
When it first opened inside the Presidente InterContinental Hotel in 1996, chef Chiecchio took charge of the kitchen, turning Alfredo di Roma into an instant hit among Mexico City culinary connoisseurs.
Still at the helm of the restaurant’s kitchen, Chiecchio is responsible for many of the dishes included on the new menu.