Culinary event is one for the books
Along with thousands of books and hundreds of authors, the Tucson Festival of Books will also host a series of food-based attractions for visitors to sink their teeth into.
“The festival is centered on literacy and literature, but one of the treasures of the show will be the food,” said April Ott, food committee chair for the Tucson Festival of Books.
Ten culinary events are scattered throughout the weekend, offering a unique variety of cuisine. Chefs from across the country are attending to prepare a feast for festival visitors.
“Festival-goers can expect to find family favorites like barbecue and pizza, as well as more exotic items like hummus tostadas and avocado fries,” Ott said. “And it wouldn’t be a festival without great snacks like gourmet kettle corn. This year, we even have organic spun cotton candy.”
Kicking off the savory weekend is the “Street Food of Mexico” event. Produced by chefs Hugo Ortega and Maria Mazon, who both spent their childhoods in Mexico, the focus will be on creating authentic and classic Mexican street foods as the chefs know and love them. The demonstration is Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Culinary Stage.
The “La Cocina Mexicana: Many Cultures, One Cuisine” demonstration follows at 11:30 a.m. Chef Ricardo Zurita, executive chef Alan Eduardo Mota Tafoya from the Mexico City restaurant Azul Condesa and culinary specialist of Pima Community College Mario Diaz de Sandy Jr. will demonstrate the foods of Mexico until 12:30 p.m.
Sandy D’Amato’s recently published book “Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer” will be the focal point of his talk at 1 p.m. on Saturday as he discusses the personal side of cooking, both in the kitchen and out.
Jeff Michaud, executive chef and co-owner of Osteria Restaurant in Philadelphia, brings in an Italian theme at 2:30 p.m. He will discuss his newest book, “Eating Italy: A Chef’s Culinary Adventure,” a hybrid cookbook/travel tale of his three years in northern Italy as a culinary apprentice.
Suzanne Goin of the a.o.c. restaurant in Los Angeles is scheduled to present recipes from her book “The A.O.C. Cookbook” on Saturday at 4 p.m., with help from chef Virginia Wooters.
On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., Michaud will partner with chef Massimo Tenino from the Tavolino Ristorante Italiano as the two make Michaud’s book come to life by cooking some of their own Italian specialties.
Capping off the Mexican cuisine is the “Modern Southwest” demonstration set for 10 a.m. Sunday. Chefs Ryan Clark and Justin Morrow will explore recipes from Clark’s latest cookbook, “Modern Southwest Cooking,” showcasing an array of innovative recipes prepared by the author himself.
Chicago restaurant Tru’s chef Rick Tramonto, partnering with chef Antonio Rodriguez of Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa, is set to host a demonstration at 11:30 a.m. Sunday exploring the recipes of Tramonto’s cookbook, “Steak with Friends.”
Sunday at 1 p.m., Liz Neumark, CEO and founder of New York’s top catering company, Great Performances, will delve into some of her favorite recipes from her newest cookbook, “Sylvia’s Table: Fresh, Seasonal Recipes from Our Farm to Your Family.”
The final culinary event of the weekend is the “True Food” discussion at 4 p.m. on Sunday, presented by Dr. Andrew Weil of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Sam Fox from Fox Restaurant Concepts and executive chef Michael Stebner from True Food Kitchen. The talk will highlight simple foods that are seasonable and sustainable.
Though books may be the main draw of this weekend’s festival, guests won’t go hungry.
“Come for the books, stay for the culinary delights,” Ott said.