© Ariel Fernández of Southern-Press
Ambassador of USA in Uruguay, David Nelson, Gabriel Bialystocki, chef Ben Ford, and chef Toshio Tomita.
I’ve always associated Punta Del Este, on the eastern coast of Uruguay, with glamorous beaches rather than excellent food. But Gabriel Bialystocki, founder and director of Punta del Este’s first ever Food & Wine Festival, is changing that. Bialystocki has collected an impressive lineup of chefs from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to participate in the month-long event. Each Saturday, selected chefs will host special dinners for up to 180 people. The dinners will highlight Uruguay’s local ingredients, and each dish will be paired with Uruguayan wines. Bialystocki e-mailed me an update from this past Saturday’s six-course dinner, prepared by Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA; Gastón Yelicich of Isla de Flores in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay; and Toshio Tomita of Nobu in New York City. Highlights: Ford’s candied fennel, preserved lemon and mascarpone risotto; Tomita’s tuna sashimi in yuzu-soy sauce with jalapeños, with a garlic puree; and Yelicich’s dulce de leche mille-feuilles with chocolate mousse and sabayon cream.
The November 27 finale will be hosted by Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann, who will cook using his trademark seven fires, and Bialystocki promises to report on all of the delicious details.