i-Three Issue Corps: Diversity Corps Member Heads to Chile

As a recent eXtension Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps member, I am conducting some of my research in developing several South American Cuisine curricula in Chile. I recently went on a study tour with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Culinary Professionals Practice Group to Santiago, Valparaiso, and local sites nearby.

The purpose of the trip was to learn about the culture and cuisine of Chile, as well as Peru and Argentina. We worked with local chefs and historians touring seafood and produce markets, vineyards, a goat farm and cheese facility, indigenous pottery production, and preparing the multi-cultural foods.

Seafood at the market
A variety of fish and octopus at the market

Surprisingly, besides the Spanish influence, French and Italian cultures had, and continue to have, a large influence on the customs and cuisine. For example, one would think coffee would be the hot beverage of choice, as they are so close Central America, where is it grown. However, tea wins out, mostly due to the western European influences.

One of my favorite culinary finds was the spice blend of Merken, a combination of local ground chili pepper, ground coriander, and a little salt.

Merkin - a spice blend found in Chile

Merken is a local spice mix used in Chile

It is used in soups, stews, and on sopapillas with salsa, for example. Of course, with Chile having such a long coastline, you would expect to see a variety of seafood as well. I hope you enjoy my introductory video and pictures highlighting some of my finds.

grilled octopus dish
A grilled octopus dish
A curried scallop dish
A curried scallop dish