The World Cup may be over but that doesn't mean Mexico and Peru aren't up for one more competition; fans of the Latin American seafood staple known as ceviche (or cebiche depending on where it's made) should steal themselves for THE throwdown of the summer between those aforementioned countries and it's happening next week right here in Houston. Chefs from Cuchara Mexico City Bistro and Latin Bites Cafe are preparing to square off in a Duelo de Ceviches pitting the bold tastes of Mexican style ceviche against the light presentations of Peruvian style cebiche in an epic battle to determine which will win the Ceviche/Cebiche crown. The competition will span three days taking turns of location before culminating at Camerata at Paulie's.
Cuchara plans to focus on the spices of Mexico to highlight their entries. Ana Beaven and Charlie McDaniel owners of Cuchara Mexico City Bistro believe that "Having this event will help our customers better understand the processes and techniques required to make this fisherman's meal that is nowadays so popular not only throughout Latin America but the whole world." Alternatively, Latin Bites intends to win with their offerings centered on simple, full flavors. Latin Bites owner and General manager Rita Castre says, "This is a great opportunity to taste how two amazing cuisines have influenced the preparation of a common ancient dish made with different ingredients and styles."
The first day of battle will take place at Latin Bites on Tuesday, July 22 during which each restaurant will present a flight of four cebiches paired with Tequila or Pisco cocktails to represent Mexico and Peru respectively. The second round continues at Cuchara on Wednesday, July 23 where Mexico will try to win with the home-field advantage. Camerata at Paulie's will host the final day of dueling on Sunday, July 27 where Houston renowned Chefs Edel Goncalvez from Fielding's Wood Grill, Manabu Horiuchi Executive Chef at Kata Robata, Chef Mark Cox from Mark ́s American Cuisine, and Olivier Ciesielski Executive Chef at L ́Olivier will keep score based on flavor, freshness, texture, presentation, and creativity. In addition, CultureMap's 2014 Best Sommelier David Keck will lend his expert taste through wine pairings that complement the dishes from each restaurant.
Though attending the events is free (no reservations required), $20 per day will get you a tasting of four ceviches whereas $40 per day will win you samples of eight plus a complimentary cocktail (only on days one and two, not at Camerata). All guests attending the three-day friendly fight will have the opportunity to purchase cocktails made with liquor representative of each country: Tequila, made from agave, hailing from Mexico and Pisco, made from grapes, representing Peru. With such talents coming together it's hard to imagine a true loser but that won't prevent each side from bringing their A-game. There are bragging rights to consider, after all.