Here’s What Tucson Chefs Travis Peters and Pablo Valencia Are Cooking at The International Gastronomy Forum in Macao, China


June 19, 2024
By Shane Reiser
By Shane Reiser

Two of Tucson’s finest chefs are about to showcase our city’s culinary talent at the International Gastronomy Forum in Macao, China. Travis Peters, the creative force behind The Parish, and Pablo Valencia, the innovative owner of Scratching the Plate catering, will be representing Tucson on this global stage.

Imagine chefs from 30 UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy around the world coming together to learn from each other and cook up a storm. Travis and Pablo will be right there, collaborating on two exceptional cooking demonstrations.

“What a privilege it is to share our story through food and hear many others from across the world uniting on a plate,” said Valencia.

Chef Pablo Valencia (left). Chef Travis Peters (right) cooking at the 2017 D*NA Gastronomy Festival in Dénia, Spain.

What the Chefs Will Be Cooking

“We designed two dishes that I hope will help tell the story of Tucson’s diverse culinary scene & rich history along with staying true to my style of cooking. I feel they celebrate our Tucson’s UNESCO award and it’s ties to the Chinese immigrants that helped create our Tucson’s amazing culinary scene but often overlooked,” said Peters.

Dish 1 – Carne Seca Tacos & Heritage Squash Puree

“We smoked the carne seca using mesquite wood after marinating it for about 48 hours in an ancho Chile brine. The tacos will be dressed with grilled nopales, grilled corn, fermented chiltepine Fresno hot sauce & chili Toreados. Served with hibiscus pickled red onion and cutshaw squash puree. We’re also rolling out our own Sonoran white wheat tortillas using flour milled by my great friend Don Guerra! They are delicious!” shared Peters.

“After the Spaniards took the took the chiltepin to Europe the Portuguese then took it to several places like Brazil Africa and India & finally brought them directly to Macao, China. This predates any pepper crops found there. The chili Toreados are directly influenced by the Chinese & can be found all over Tucson, it’s one of my favorite taco toppings!”

Dish 2Sonoran Garden Salad

“Fresh heirloom tomatoes, heritage squash escabeche (pickled cutshaw, red bell pepper, sweet white onion , fermented corn, chayote squash garlic), local okra, marinated tepary beans, toasted pecans & pepitas, my signature tamarind vinaigrette & Chinese chorizo. It’s so good!” said Peters.

Heritage Squash Escabeche (left). Hibiscus (right). Photo by Travis Peters.

When they’re not showcasing their skills, they’ll be exploring the vibrant street food, bustling outdoor markets, and top-notch restaurants that Macao has to offer—gathering inspiration and knowledge to bring back to Tucson.

A little About Macao

Macao is a former Portuguese colony with a rich history and a unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese culture. Known as the “Las Vegas of the East,” it’s the most densely populated city in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s just a short hop from Hong Kong, connected by a 34-mile bridge.

Macao’s food scene is a fusion of Cantonese and Portuguese cuisines, with influences from Indian and Malaysian dishes. Traditional dishes have been served for nearly 500 years, but it’s the modern fusion cuisine that’s truly remarkable. Macao earned its UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation in 2017.

Back in 2019, Tucson sent chefs Devon Sanner and Erika Bostick to this very forum. Now, it’s Travis and Pablo’s turn. Chef Peters, one of Tucson’s official Chef Ambassadors, has already impressed at the 2017 D*NA Gastronomy Festival in Dénia, Spain. Both he and Pablo, members of the Gastronomic Union of Tucson, are ready to highlight Tucson’s unique heritage ingredients in dishes created specifically for this event.

Stay tuned for updates and photos from Macao. Let’s cheer on Travis and Pablo as they represent Tucson on the world stage!

Learn more about Tucson City of Gastronomy at tucson.cityofgastronomy.org.

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