The Cuban Culinary Revolution Starts Now

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The Inaugural Havana Culinary Exchange September 24 – October 1, 2016, brings together Leading Chefs, Sommeliers, Mixologists and Wineries from United States and Cuba for a week of great food and wine on the island of Cuba.

In the 1950’s, a time when meat pies, frozen vegetables and tuna casseroles along with a glass of Tang reigned in the good ol’ US of A, Havana was catering to the rich jet-setters seeking a luxurious lifestyle. Socialites, debutantes, celebrities like Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, and American mobsters came to play in the Cuban paradise and dine on succulent roast pig, fresh seafood and sip on mojitos. Then the revolution happened.

Since then Cubans have been cut off from many of the innovations and the blending of flavors of different ethnic cuisines, not to mention the lack of a wide variety of fresh ingredients that we are so accustomed to in the states. They work with canned products, inadequate equipment and have to deal with rations. Just as other aspects of their culture have been frozen in time, so has their food.

The Havana Culinary Exchange envisioned by Chef Douglas Rodriguez, the Godfather of Latino Cuisine, is bringing a squad of top US chefs, sommeliers and mixologists to share new food techniques, equipment and recipes with the Cuban chefs and have them share their time-honored traditional cuisine with them.

“I’m honored that all of these extraordinarily talented folks are taking time from their busy schedules” remarks Chef Rodriguez, “to share their passion for food and wines in my parent’s beautiful homeland.“

The roster of culinary talent includes:
Aaron May (Scottsdale) - Executive Chef & Owner LTB Concepts, Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame

Bernie Matz (Miami) - “Connoisseur of Tacos”, Executive Chef & Owner LA Café, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila

Brad Kilgore (Miami) - 2016 Best Chef in America, Food & Wine's Best New Chef 2016, Executive Chef, Alter named Best New Restaurants in America 2016

Darlene Tenes (Silicon Valley) - eHow Food & Lifestyle Expert, Owner & Founder of CasaQ by Darlene, co-host Best Darn Tamale Contest

Dean Corbett (Louisville) - Executive Chef & Owner Corbett’s: An American Place, Honorable Order of the Golden Toque named Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants”

Douglas Rodriguez (Miami) - Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cusisine, Executive Chef & Owner Alma de Cuba, James Beard Award Winner

Fernando Martinez (Louisville) - Executive Chef & Owner Olé Oh Let’s Eat Restaurant Group

Ivan Ruiz (Summit) - Sommelier and Owner of, Co-Founder The Wine List Sommelier

John Mooney (NYC & DC) - Rising Star Sustainability Chef, Bell Book & Candle

Kevin Sbraga (Philadelphia) - Top Chef Winner Season 7, MasterChef Judge, Executive Chef & Owner Sbraga Dining

Michael Aeyal Ginor (New York) - Owner, Hudson Valley Foie Gras & New York State Foie Gras, James Beard Award Winner

Mike Isabella (DC) - Bravo T’s Top Chef, Top Chef Allstars, Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown, Executive Chef & Owner Isabella Concepts

Rodolfo Cuadros (Chicago) - Executive Chef, Carnivale Chicago

Collectively they have appeared as competitors and judges across Food Network’s Chopped, Iron Chef, BravoTV’s Top Chef, FYI’s Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown and appeared in Gourmet, Restaurant, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Sunset Magazine, USA Today and every major network.

Food aficionados and adventurous travelers can partake in the Havana Culinary Exchange from September 24 – October 1, 2016 to explore the island’s beautiful culture and music, then savor amazing cuisine every day from the top chefs in the USA and Cuba.

For more information, visit or by calling 305-809-8042.

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Mildred Diaz

Lily Sanchez
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