Members of Mexico's Oaxaca Traditional Female Chefs' Association, Celia Florián and Charito Cruz, defend work by women in kitchens all over the world as they receive the FéminAs ‘Guardians of Tradition’ award.
While Celia Florián, president of the Oaxaca Traditional Female Chefs' Association (Mexico), explained the ideas behind the body, her compatriot and colleague Charito Cruz surprised the FéminAs gathering with a typical vegan "All Saints' Day" tamale, and also chocolate (with cocoa, cinnamon, sugar and ground almond), using a traditional "metate" method. “If you come to Oaxaca and you don't have a metate chocolate, it's like you haven't even been there”, they explained gaily. The few attendees who could reach the stage to taste the chocolate bar, dissolved in water or along with yolk bread, saw what they meant.
This was the gist of the talk by the two representatives of Mexico's female chefs' association, which received the congress's 'Guardians of Tradition' Award for "protection of the legacy of the best of Mexico's many and varied recipes". “I give thanks for this award on behalf of the Association and on behalf of all women cooking all over the world, those who have cooked for families, in convents, in countryside kitchens, in hospitals, refectories, markets ... for all the women who have fed us at some point in our lives", said Florián in an emotive talk. The Oaxaca Traditional Female Chefs' Association arose thanks "to our insistence and assistance from the government", and what was a body of 10 women in 2015 has now become a 400-strong organisation", which in fact includes some men (barely 10%).
Not only does the Association showcase women's culinary activities and the legacy of Oaxaca, they explained, but it also runs courses for members on conservation, food transport and food safety, and "we also have courses on how to detect signs of gender violence. Because sexism is still a problem in Mexico”, she told the congress.
Florián and Cruz finished off in a gesture of solidarity with the "guisanderas" of Asturias - "we uphold the same spirit" - and also sought to "sell" their region: "We wish to invite you all to Oaxaca, the capital of Mexico's "moles" due to its large variety of circumstances, aromas, colours and tastes. The world's best gastronomy destination”.