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Three Chefs Share Their Favorite Dishes and Memories for New Years Party 2023

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<strong>Three Chefs Share Their Favorite Dishes and Memories for New Years Party 2023</strong>

The end of the year festivities are the most important collective festivities worldwide, especially the New Year. If Christmas unites families to give thanks for everything they have, the New Year unites society in the hope of all the good things that are wished for in the new year that is yet to come. Although, no matter what traditions or beliefs you have, gastronomy is the element that is found in every holiday celebration, especially the new year. And there is nothing better than starting the new year with a delicious and meaningful menu.

The Visitor found in this New Year’s thought the best reason to ask three renowned Chefs two questions with the purpose of sharing which foods they like for the New Year’s celebration and what it means for each one. The flavors, smells and textures that transport Chef Charlie Collins, Alexander Rojas and Edy Acedo to significant moments in the life of each one.

Chef Charlie Collins

What does New Year’s Eve mean, and the entrance of this 2023 that is yet to come?

For Charlie Collins, who is Executive Chef of the famous Hotel Panamonte in Boquete, 2022 was a very difficult year for all the people in the tourism industry, among other side effects, however, he hopes that this new year will be one full of health and wealth for all Panama.

For Alexander Rojas Chef of Ngadri restaurant in Boquete, this coming 2023 is a new year that comes with many expectations and hopes, a desire to improve every day, especially since a year and a half has passed since he opened his own restaurant, despite the questioning of people for having started their venture in the midst of the pandemic where authorities could suddenly close businesses. However, Alexander says that he always remained positive and wanted to improve, focusing on working hard, making 2022 a great year for this talented Chef who lives in Boquete.

Chef Alexander Rojas

For Chef Edy Acedo, 2022 meant a year of revelation, one that led him in a new culinary direction that has motivated him today. However, 2023 will lead him to have a closer relationship with the national product and grow as a Panamanian citizen. He emphasizes that the most valuable thing is that this new year will give him the opportunity to show Panamanians and foreigners what Panama has in its gastronomy.

Chef Edy Acedo

To celebrate the new year, which food you would always like to prepare and what memories does it bring back?

Traditionally in Chef Collins’ family, the New Year’s Eve meal is Smoked Leg Ham which is slow baked with a cinnamon sugar glaze, cloves, honey and port wine. Once the ham is finished in the oven, he places dried fruits such as apricots, pineapple and cherries. Another version of this meal that Chef Collins likes for this date is with a red wine glaze with brown sugar or grated sugar, powdered mustard, vinegar and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and Chombo chili pepper jelly. Likewise, he shares with The Visitor that this New Year’s Eve he has prepared a Sarria syrup and as an accompaniment a grilled vegetable casserole, rice with very Panamanian pigeon peas, salads and a tempting ripe banana puree.

Chef Charlie Collins

Chef Collins, being of American and Swedish descent, at home used to combine representative dishes from Panama, the United States and Sweden. This combination of dishes where recipes from the three countries were served is still present in their repertoire of meals to receive the new year. Of course, for him the grapes can never be missing to receive the year and a family toast with a good Champagne.

Chef Alexander Rojas shares with The Visitor that he loves tamales with chicken and also with pork, mainly because for him it has some very peculiar ingredients such as achiote, cilantro, garlic and onion. That mixture in the old ground corn reminds him a lot of his childhood, when his grandfather and grandmother, as well as his mother, prepared the tamale. As a child, Chef Alexander had to go get the bijao and plantain leaves, to later observe how they prepared it, wrapped it, and tied it with the same leather from the dried plantain stem.

Chef Alexander Rojas

Also, other foods that bring back memories are the rice with Guandu, the roast pork in a pan, as well as the papa and beetroot salad. For Chef Alexander, these are the dishes that should not be missing, and if you wanted turkey and there was no chicken, you would use it. In his memory comes the moment when his mother came home from work on December 31 at 4pm to start preparing everything. He arranged and decorated the table so that it was accompanied by those delicious smells, memories that Chef Alexander will never erase from his memory.

Edy Acedo, Chef of the Kaandela restaurant in Casco Antiguo, is direct when he shares with The Visitor that his favorite food to celebrate the new year is “Pernil “ (pig) marinated in green recao emulsion with Chicharron, “Arroz con Guandu Morao” and Coconut; and temptation plantain with Saril.

However, this food brings back fond memories for Chef Edy Acedo when he was barely 11 years old and lived with his mother. He remembers his mother’s kitchen with a lot of nostalgia, the smells, the atmosphere that she created so that everyone at home will enjoy an unforgettable night. Moments that he continues to remember to this day. For him, sharing with the family and welcoming the year with tremendous food was a tradition that brought them closer together.

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