Cuba’s private eateries to compete in culinary festival
Saturday, Jun 08, 2013
HAVANA – Cuba’s privately-owned restaurants, the “paladares” that have
proliferated under President Raul Castro’s economic reforms, will take
part for the first time in Cuba’s biggest culinary festival.
The Varadero Gourmet Festival, to be held from June 19-21 in a spa 85
miles (140 kilometers) east of Havana, “seeks to position Cuba as a
destination for quality food service,’ organizer Hugo Capote told AFP
Allowing privately-run eateries to compete against the Communist
nation’s state-run restaurants “will enrich the Cuban tourist product,”
“In the end, we are talking about a single product: the Cuban, and part
of its authenticity is in this new form of production and management,”
said Capote, also chief of operations at the state-run Palmares restaurants.
Since the private sector expansion was first authorized, hundreds of
private restaurants have sprouted in Havana and elsewhere on the island,
some of which, including “La Guarida” and “La Cocina de Lilian” have
gained international prestige.
Capote did not specify how many of the private restaurants would
participate in the festival, which will feature two food-based
competitions – Cuban gourmet and fusion cuisine – and one for cocktails.
For the cooking contests, each participate must submit a full menu plus
“pairings,” including coffee, liquors, cigars and chocolate.
Exhibitors from more than a dozen countries, including Colombia, Spain,
the United States, France, Mexico and Cuba will also participate in the