Cities of the Americas: Landscapes of Flavor
Culinary Disruption and Renewal from the United States and Canada to Latin America
Cities and their foodsheds exist in the tension between agriculture and urbanization, between natives and immigrants, between residents and visitors, between public and private space, between multinationals and independent businesses, between cars and public transportation, between art and craft, between high-end and accessible, between cement and grass, between speed and reflection, between risk and return, between yesterday and tomorrow. Cities are where we grow, if not where we grow up. Cities are where we find first jobs and forever loves. Cities are where we go looking for opportunities. Cities are where “names” are made, where careers are seeded. Cities are melting pots. Cities drive cuisine.
Reflecting a landmass equally rich in indigenous and immigrant foods, cities throughout the Americas are vibrant culinary hotbeds, filled with restaurants large and small, venerable institutions and pop-ups, markets and street food stalls. Midnight on the continent might mean eating a taco on a still bustling Mexico City or Los Angeles street; finding a diner in Chicago, a cantina in Santiago de Chile, or a food cart in Ottawa; or tasting the late, late night menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant in São Paulo or New York.
As they continue to grow—for better or for worse—cities also force us to grapple with questions of sustainability, including from economic and environmental perspectives. Throughout the Americas, young chefs are developing new concepts that allow them to effect change on production methods through their menus, while addressing financial pressures brought on by increased development, all the while pushing creative boundaries when bringing culture to the plate. Working with anthropologists, historians, artists, and scientists, chefs around the Americas are preserving and developing new supply chains for native ingredients in ways that aim to return to food systems that are more biodiverse and respectful of cultural heritage.
Cities are in constant motion, because their populations are in constant flux. Cities offer the historical cuisines of their resident communities as well as those of countless other countries. From colonization to immigration, the Americas are where cultures and cuisines constantly merge and emerge anew. Just the same, the Americas have long influenced other parts of the world, from ingredients that made their way to the Old World and forever changed cuisine—think of the tomatoes in Spain’s gazpacho or Italy’s salsa di pomodoro, or of the importance of potatoes, originally from Peru, as a staple of cuisines around the globe.
Are you ready for a deep and broad continental exploration to discover what unites and differentiates us, from Vancouver to Valparaiso? Then join us for the 22nd edition of Worlds of Flavor, November 4-6, 2020 at the CIA at Copia in Napa. We’ll focus on of some of the Americas’ most vibrant cities, looking at street food and markets just as much as pop-ups and fine dining. We’ll look at what has driven the explosive growth in the number of restaurants across the United States in the last 10 years and where the industry is heading. We’ll discover some of the most innovative chefs in cities across Latin America, how they continue to find new ways to work with traditional ingredients, and how that informs menus in the US.
We’ll dive into data and dishes, people and plates—together, peering over the edge of tomorrow to understand what will drive the future flavors of the Americas.