The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 8, 2013

Spanish chef travels to Indian Hills to teach, learn and forge relationships

OTTUMWA — A renowned Spanish chef has absorbed southeast Iowa’s culture over the past couple of weeks while infusing Spain into lessons in the Indian Hills culinary arts department.

Fátima Pérez Andrés, owner of Restaurante Fátima in Valladolid, Spain (capital of the region Castilla y León), made her first trip to Iowa a couple weeks ago.

“[Iowa is] a land rich in intentions with a lot of potential for growth,” she said through translation by IHCC Chef Gordon Rader. “The friendliness of the people is beyond compare, but the world of gastronomy has a long way to go.”

Pérez Andrés especially noticed the high concentration of fast-food restaurants in America, which sometimes seem to outnumber local or homegrown restaurants with their flashing signs and cheap deals.

But that’s one of the reasons the culinary arts department brings in chefs from around the world, Rader said, to see the polar differences in gastronomic trends.

“I’ve learned a lot, observing and realizing that food is a reflection of life,” Pérez Andrés said.

These relationships with international chefs open new doors for Rader’s students.

“It’s so important to have her here,” he said. “We’re starting her out slow this time because we’ll be bringing her back again. Our relationship with Spain is very important in terms of internships and new ideas.”

Pérez Andrés is one of Spain’s top mycologists, Rader said, which is the study of mushrooms.

And she has a lot to study. Castilla y León contains around 12,000 different varieties of mushrooms, though not all of them are edible.

For the past two weeks, Pérez Andrés has participated in conferences and lectures on mushrooms and the different types of cultivation and gathering. She has also judged the students’ cooking competitions and gives them advice on how to tweak their recipes.

She has also noticed similarities between southeast Iowa and her region of Spain in the land and farming practices, “though Spain doesn’t limit itself to corn,” Rader said.

“I’m very happy to have been able to come,” she said. “The best part of Iowa is the people ... and the pork.”

Rader said these visits from international chefs also impress upon the students the importance of learning a second language, since Pérez Andrés does not speak English. Some of the culinary arts students do speak Spanish, as does Rader, and have been able to translate her advice during her time here.

After spending her morning Thursday with the culinary arts students, Pérez Andrés then traveled to Fairfield for the afternoon and was scheduled to fly back to Spain today.

During the past two weeks, she also spent some time at Iowa State University, with several Iowa chefs and was able to observe and build relationships with the Amish community in southeast Iowa.

Pérez Andrés said coming to America took her back in time to reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and other Mark Twain stories as a child.

“Those stories came alive,” she said. “I didn’t think I would come this far to remember something from so long ago.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0726 OTT Garden Bites III Color Photo -T Garden Bites sees growth BLOOMFIELD — Nearly one month ago, families gathered at Pioneer Ridge Nature Center to plant various vegetables to harvest and eat on Thursday at Garden Bites. The program allows families to get their hands a bit dirty at Pioneer Ridge and plant food

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook