Amigeauxs Excerpt: Fusion Cusine

August 18, 2008 at 4:59 am

The following is an excerpt from my 2003 cookbook, Amigeauxs: Mexican/Creole Cuisine available from 4Star Publishing.

Fusion Cusine

It seems every decade has left its mark on the culinary world. The fifties introduced us to the TV Dinner, the sixties brought the fast food era into full swing, the seventies had millions of people trying tofu and bean sprouts (and dozens liking them), in the eighties Sushi and designer food were all the rage, and the nineties were driven by the emerging enthusiasm is Asian cuisines other than Chinese and japanese. As we enter the 21st Century the gastronomic adventure that has captured the imagination of America is the exploration of palette sensations that is Fusion Cuisine.San Francisco is surely the capitol of the Fusion nation. Asian, Hispanic, and several other cultures mingle in this beautiful west coast city. World-class Bay City chefs like Bradley Ogden, Anne and David Gingrass, and the incomparable Wolfgang Puck have all blazed this innovative trail. But San Francisco is not the only integral city in the development and popularization of this exciting new culinary style.

The Southeast has also been quite influential in the development of Fusion. New Southern Cuisine, which is trendy in Atlanta, Raleigh, Nashville, and other leading Southern cities, is the blending of old fashioned Deep South cooking and gourmet practices. Florida Cuisine combines the best of Africa, Dixie, and the Caribbean for some fabulously flavorful delicacies. But New Orleans is the Mecca of Southern Fusion Cuisine.

The Cresent City is the home of one of the original Fusion styles, Creole. Creole is the combination of traditional Acadian (Cajun) recipes and classic French cooking techniques. In fact one classic Louisiana dish, jambalaya, actually developed from the famous Spanish rice, tomato, and seafood dish Paella.

Which naturally brings us to Mexican food which is also one of the original Fusion Cuisines. The Spaniards brought their recipes to the “New World” where they were combined with the moles, pepianes, and indigenous vegetables of the Aztec and especially the Zapotec Indians. Mexican food has given way to two other Hispanic influenced Fusion Cuisines, Tex-Mex and Southwest.

Tex-Mex has its origin in where else… Texas. Easterners have long viewed the Lone Star state as an exotic wonderland of rugged people and intense spices. Local chefs cultivated this image and created Tex-Mex, a form of Mexican cuisine that incorporates the Texas attitude of more. More cheese, more peppers, more spices. Bigger, richer, hotter.

Southwestern Cuisine really came into its own in the nineties as classical European cooking techniques collided headlong with the bold flavors and wildness of the Desert Southwest. Born at the rustic B&B’s, resorts, and inns that dot the painted landscape of Arizona and Nevada, Southwestern is closely related and often confused with Tex-Mex but is differentiated by its common use of rich sauces and wild game.

This all brings us to the natural marriage of Mexican and Creole. The combination is natural, almost predestined. European influences on native foods mixed with colorful names in romantic locations all come together to form Mexican/Creole Cuisine. Thus we have Amigeauxs.

 

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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