Food Drink

Experience authentic Mexican flavours at exclusive Mexican Independence Day dinner

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with exclusive dinner co-hosted by the Art Gallery of South Australia and head chef of La Popular Taqueria and discover the traditional flavours of Mexico!

If you’ve ever been to Mexico, you’d know that authentic Mexican food ain’t all about burritos or Old El Paso tacos (ay ay ay!) and that the locals love their home-grown heroine and feminist icon Frida Kahlo just as much as the rest of the world.

And whilst Mexicans are passionate about food, Frida and their culture in general, there really hasn’t been an opportunity for us here in South Australia to truly experience and understand Frida and her work along with traditional Mexican cuisine first-hand—until now.

To coincide with the Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution exhibition that’s been running at the Art Gallery of South Australia since late June, head chef and owner of much-loved Port Adelaide Mexican restaurant La Popular Taqueria, Daniella Guevara Muñoz and AGSA_eat head chef Hayley O’Brien are hosting an exclusive dinner on Saturday 16th of September to celebrate Mexican Independence Day which falls on the same day.

Daniella, who has worked with Hayley previously, is excited to share the spirit of Mexican Independence Day, her love for traditional Mexican food and the influence of Frida in Mexican culture with all who attend. ‘Frida was passionate about her culture, and she was always celebrating events, public holidays and hosting dinner parties at her home, Casa Azul,’ says Daniella. ‘She really enjoyed cooking and sharing her love for food and Mexico with her friends and guests, and so we’re tying that all in with this event and honouring Frida Kahlo on a holiday she celebrated often.’

This event will feature a full-course dinner reflecting traditional Mexican food, highlighting the colours of the Mexican flag, and will include wine pairings and exclusive cocktails throughout the night. ‘This dinner will be very different from what we serve at La Popular, which is more street-style food,’ says Daniella. ‘Mexican food is more than just tacos, and I really enjoy creating menus for dinners that showcase traditional Mexican dishes and flavours and work on pairing everything together—it’s an exciting process, and it comes very naturally to me.’

Originating from Mexico City, Daniella is no stranger to hosting dinner parties, just like Frida, and after moving to Adelaide in 2012, a few years after first arriving in Australia, Daniella began her own underground dinners, which she hosted at her home. ‘When my husband and I first moved to Australia, we were living in Townsville. I’d studied to be a marine biologist and had worked as director of a marine park, and at the time, being in the Queensland region was important to me and my interests in reef conservation etc.,’ says Daniella.

‘I decided to change my career and become a chef of traditional Mexican food because there wasn’t much available in Townsville that featured the authentic flavours of Mexico. We had the opportunity to move to Adelaide, and it was here that I began hosting these monthly dinners at our home—first just with our friends, and then it grew—I started a website, and whoever wanted to come along was welcome,’ says Daniella.

Not only was this a great opportunity for Daniella and her husband to meet new people and network, but it also allowed her to explore new flavours, get creative, and share her love for cooking, Mexico and Mexican culture with people who had never experienced it before. ‘Food brings people together, and it’s a way of connecting,’ says Daniella.

‘People that didn’t know each other came and had an amazing time, and most had never had traditional Mexican food that featured authentic home cooking. People may have expected just tacos, but I highlighted dishes from places like Oaxaca and Vera Cruz, which are renowned for their traditional food in Mexico,’ says Daniella.

It’s these flavours and dishes that guests can expect at the Mexican Independence Day Dinner in September, and whilst Daniella and the La Popular team will also be at the Art Gallery on the first Friday of every month during the exhibition to share their delicious tacos, the dinner will be a very different experience. ‘I want people to get a sense of Mexican culture and how amazing our food can be. It’s not Tex-Mex which is very Amercian-influenced and not authentic,’ says Daniella.

‘I’ve just returned from a trip back to Mexico, and I spent some time in Oaxaca and Puebla, cooking and learning from the locals there. They were cooking dishes and using methods that I had never seen before, and that’s why I love Mexican food so much,’ says Daniella. ‘I’m always learning and experiencing new tastes and flavours when I go back.’

And, if you haven’t made your way to the Frida & Diego exhibition yet, your ticket to the dinner will include a full tour of the exhibition, which Daniella assures is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about Frida, Mexico and their warm and welcoming culture. ‘Frida is massive in terms of what she represents in Mexican culture, and as a Mexican, seeing the exhibition was amazing for me,’ says Daniella. ‘I walked in and thought to myself, “Wow, this is Mexico!”—the way it’s been curated is very clever, and it gives a real sense of what Mexico is like for those that have never been.’

When: Saturday 16th September, 6:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Where: The Art Gallery of South Australia
Cost: $185 per person
More info: Click here

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