General Acha, Argentina. The Euzko Txokoa Basque club in Gral. Acha in the Province of La Pampa, hosted a Pintxo workshop on April 22nd for the community. The workshop was presented by sukaldari (chef) Mauro Funes, club member and who represented the entity at last year’s Gaztemundu that focused on strengthening knowledge of gastronomy for sukaldaris and their kitchen helpers at the club level.
The three-hour workshop included not just preparing pintxos, but also a tasting. It was attended by twenty people and allowed the chef the opportunity to explain how to prepare typical pintxos that are eaten in the Basque Country taverns, with local products. Some of the pintxos were made with ham, tuna, tomato, squid, blood sausage, shrimp, anchovies and mushrooms, to mention a few.
The chef’s job didn’t’ stop there. Aware of his visit to the city, Mauro was invited by the Rural Association of Gral. Acha to teach a Masters Class in cooking using organic, traditional and local products. On this occasion, he used the Haddad family’s organic garden, and cheese procured and made by the Agrotecnica School along with wines from the local winery, Estilo 152.
The entre was comprised of vegetables for the garden and cheese from the school. The main dish included veal loin [remember that La Pampa is known for its high quality meats], accompanied by risotto, and a prune, Malbec reduction. For dessert, he made “Postre Alkimia,” with a brownie, orange cream, red berries, nuts, coconut and chocolate
In a conversation with EuskalKultura.com, Mauro explained that he is now in the last year of his gastronomy degree at the School of Gastronomy “Azafran” in Cordoba. Despite his age, recently turning 20, he hasn’t only been awarded the Gaztemundu scholarship but also in 2016 was among the four finalists, among 600 participants, in the Casalta Contest, a national competition for gastronomy students. As part of his career he has also worked in very well-known hotels and restaurants in Cordoba such as the Quorum Hotel and the La Torgnole Gastronomique. He has also been recruited as a VIP chef for the World Rally pilots in Cordoba - WCR
When asked about his future, Maur sees himself living in Euskal Herria soon. “My idea is to finish my degree and then to move to Euskal Herria to improve my skills at the Basque Culinary Center that I was introduced to at Gaztemundu. I know that it won’t be easy, but this is my dream,” he said. He is the son of Valeria García Oyarzabal, teacher in the Euskara Munduan Basque teacher training program, who is currently the president of the Zelaiko Euskal Etxea Basque Club in Santa Rosa. As his mother did before him, Mauro started this way his cultural tour of the Basque Country, in his case thanks to gastronomy, one of the most recognized manifestations of Basque culture internationally.