Only 11 days until I depart Wellington for three months. Yes, it's true, I am skipping out on winter this year! Although based on this long summer and late autumn we've been having, I might get back in August and winter is just arriving. No matter - in a week and a half, I'll be boarding a plane for Europe, Morocco and the USA!
I decided to head overseas in search of inspiration. I've learned to cook seasonal, local food in Thailand, Texas, Italy, Turkey, Vietnam and New Zealand. I've always been fascinated with North African and Mediterranean flavours and ingredients, but never had the chance to spend a significant amount of time in Spain, exploring their food. And so I hatched a plan to head to Andalucía and learn about local Spanish food. Seville is the birthplace of tapas, and being in southern Spain, close to Morocco, there's a bit of North African influence on the food. According to Lonely Planet, the food of Andalucía has officially been recognised for their Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Mediterranean diet.
The idea behind the trip is that I take up some work experience in a local kitchen in Andalucía, learning techniques, flavours and combinations common, and inventive. After a bit of research, I chose a few restaurants in Seville that focus on local cuisine, Andalucía traditions, and change their menus based on the seasons. I emailed these restaurants asking if I could spend a few weeks with their chefs, in their kitchen, learning about local Spanish food. Yesterday, I received an email that caused a substantial amount of excitement. One of the restaurants I emailed in Seville replied and confirmed I could work in their kitchen. It's especially exciting because not only does this restaurant focus on seasonal food, but they also have a vegetarian/vegan menu!
While travelling over the next few months, I'll be updating this blog with what I'm learning in Spain and overseas. I'm a bit behind on trip research at the moment, but by the time I depart Spain, I'll know exactly the foods I must try while in Morocco and Portugal! When I get to the USA, perhaps I'll take the blog on my taco tour of Austin, or into my auntie's kitchen in New Orleans. When I return to Wellington in August, I'll have a new repertoire of recipes and ideas for cooking classes in your home. While travelling, I'll be posting photos and stories of markets, fruits, inspiration and food. Come travel with me and follow my food journey of 2016!