Fa la la la la…. Singing Chefs!

It might not come as a surprise that the Dancing Chefs are vibrant women who are active in their communities. But did you know that Dancing Chefs Cherine and Maaike share the same passion: singing! Cherine has recently started as a lead singer with a rock band and Maaike has participated as a choir member in famous opera’s like ‘La Boheme’ and ‘Carmen’, as well as classic works like ‘Requiem’ of Mozart. Here’s their story:

When and why did you start singing?

iona

DC M. – Singing has always been a part of my life. It became a serious hobby until I was in college. The local church was looking for people to sing Celtic music  to record a CD and I decided to join. There’s  something about the harmony of voices that brings people together, even if you don’t know each other.

rock.on

DC C. – I started singing in my high school band (ahem, a few years ago). I decided then and there that when I grew up, I was going to be a famous Rockstar! And guess what? I am a Dancing Chef which in my book… is so much better!

I started at my newest band ‘Tierra Firme’ only a few months ago. My “manager” (good friend of mine) was chatting with his musician buddy, when he told him about how they wanted to expand their bands repertoire and how an english female singer could probably attract different venues and events for them. Next thing I knew, I was auditioning with my “Manager” (friend) and “Bodyguard” (Husband)! I showed up to the audition with my hefty entourage….. everyone (including myself) got a real kick out of that night!

What is your favorite genre?

DC C. – I  like classic 70’s through today’s tune, although I feel that many of these latest tunes and bands lack a certain “je ne sais quoi”.

Singing chef Maaike

DC M. – I love to partipate in operas, because it’s so versatile. You get to sing, act and dress up all at the same time (that must be my inner child!). I’m a member of the Angela Peralta choir from Mazatlan. The interesting thing about the Angela Peralta choir is that its members are all volunteers. Nobody has a degree in music and the choir director teaches everbody from the basics to semi-professional level. Some choir members like Adan Perez have made it big time in e.g. the Metropolitan Opera House. This makes me very proud to be part of this local choir.

What’s your most memorable performance?

DC. M – A few years ago the Angela Peralta choir was invited to sing in Mexico-city. There were a total of 5 choirs plus a full orchestra (over 500 people!)  from different cities around Mexico that had to rehearse and perform ‘ Te Deum’ from Berlioz. We sang this concert in the San Juan Bautista church in Coyoacan. It was exhausting but so worth it!

encuentro de coros

DC. C – That will be in about 2 weeks from now, as I am in full rehearsal mode since joining my band  ‘Tierra Firme’!  I can’t wait to share these photos with all of you!

Olé!!!

Cabo Dancing Chefs welcome G20 summit

As the countdown soon halts to the next G20 Summit, proudly hosted by MEXICO and most particularly by your friends here in Los Cabos, our towns are looking, feeling and demonstrating true pride , culture, color and sincere Welcome to our special guests.

 

In case you are not familiar with this Event, the Group of Twenty, or G20, is an informal forum for discussion between advanced and emerging countries that seeks to strengthen international cooperation and ensure global economic stability. The G20 originated in the 1998 Asian economic crisis. 

In the wake of the international financial crisis that erupted in 2008, the most serious since the Great Depression (1929), the G20 began to meet at a Leaders’ level, and has since become the most important forum for global economic and financial cooperation and discussion.

The G20 is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda. It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies.

Want to learn more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TbxeqriJjsY

And:  http://www.g20.org/index.php

This 2 day official event (June 16th-19th, 2012) is attracting delegations from around the planet to our picturesque region and we are geared up to receive them.

Heads of State, First Ladies, right and left hands and entire entourages will be exploring and enjoying our percious and unique area. I just hope they are not too distracted with the magical beauty of Los Cabos and lose the focus on their busy schedules.

 

Some of our Guests and G20 Members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (made up of 19 countries). Invitees are: Spain (permanent guest), Benin, Cambodia, Chile and Colombia.

In honor and preparation of hosting such a focal Event, our government has done an admirable job of beautifying our surroundings (as if that was possible…) to ensure a memorable passage to our +10,000 guests and visitors.

All eyes perched on Los Cabos from around the globe means hightened security, improved roads, refreshed paint, a brand new and stunning Los Cabos Convention Center and much more you need to see.

As this sweeping wave rolls into town, we ready ourselves to say to our guests:

Bienvenidos • Willkommen • добро пожаловать Karşılama Welkom

Boas-vindas Selamat Datangترحيب Bienvenue • Welcome

We, the Salsa and Salsa’s Dancing Chefs Victoria, Sharon, Suzanne are particularly proud to be part of this exciting G20 Event! Our tour promises to add fun and new learnings to our guests while visiting our truly unique and captivating region.

We look forward to the opportunities to entertain you and your friends upon your return to us only next time, with pure distractions on your schedules.

Dancing Chef Cherine

Salsa and Salsa Los Cabos

 

References http://www.g20.org

Easter in Mexico

What comes to mind when you think of Easter….. Bunnies, egg hunts and blooming flowers? In Mexico we don’t celebrate Easter, but Semana Santa which is the week before Easter. It is a national holiday and it’s also the time that many Mexicans take time off to go to the beach. Big cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey become ghost towns in these days and in beach destinations cash machines run out of money and supermarket shelves are emptied. I love the sun and sea of Cozumel, Cabo and Mazatlan, but when there are so many people on the beach I prefer to experience Easter in a different way!

Mexico is one of the most catholic countries in Latin America. It’s present in everyday life: people make the sign of a cross when passing in front of a church or use saint’s images for protection. Semana Santa is one of the most important celebrations, with processions and re-enactments of the crucifixion of Jesus.


On Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) many Catholics visit their local church, buy a palm leaf that’s offered by the many vendors outside the church. Then they attend mass to receive a blessing on the palm. The blessed palm leaf will keep the holder safe and is usually located behind the front door of the house or on the rear-view mirror in the car. The design of the palm leafs differ per region and is a wonderful example of Mexican handcraft.

The re-enactments of Jesus’ crucifixion are much more than a mere theatre play. The involved actors are devout Catholics and express their deep religious feelings through the role they are playing. In some cities the actors that play Jesus, carry crosses that weigh up to 80 kilo, are literally crucified and undergo extreme pain. Thousands of people attend the Via Crucis throughout the country.

One of the more solemn activities of Holy Week is the Procesion del Silencio (Procession of Silence). It takes place on the Friday night before Easter and could be considered a funeral procession. All participants wear special clothing or hoods to renounce selfishness and arrogance. The image of a crucified or deceased Jesus heads the march, behind him the Virgen Marie dressed in mourning cloths. This Virgen is also called ‘Virgen Dolorosa’. All images of Jesus and the Virgen Marie that participate, are carried by the members of the church the image belongs to. During the procession you can hear only the sound of drums, that mark the pace. It’s kind of eery to be a part of the Procesion del Silencio: apart of the absence of sound, all street light are turned off and eventually you start to feel the sadness too.

Now enough about celebrations…. let’s about my favorite topic: FOOD! In the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter (Lent)  Catholics are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. Mexican catholics have created a special vegetarian dish for this time of year. It’s called Capirotada and could be considered a bread pudding with syrup. Each region in Mexico has its own version of this traditional Lent dish. This recipe from the north of Mexico is special, because it has layers of cheese.

Capirotada – Mexican bread pudding with syrup

Ingredients

20-25 slices of baguette (1-2 days old)

5 ounces (150 grams) of butter

9 ounces (250 grams) of grated queso Chihuahua or aged cheese

7 ounces (200 grams) of raisins

7 ounces (200 grams) of unsalted peanuts

Syrup

5 ounces(150 grams) piloncillo or mascabado sugar

3 cups (750 ml) of water

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1 cup (250 ml) milk

Preparation

  • First prepare the syrup: boil the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves in a sauce pan with a thick bottom while stirring into liquid syrup. Remove the pan from the fire and stir in the milk.
  • Toast the slices of bread and cover with butter.
  • Preheat the oven at 390ºF(200ºC). Use a deep casserole (cazuela) for this dish. Dip the slices of bread into the syrup until making one layer. Spread part of the cheese, raisins and peanuts on tip and cover with another layer of bread dipped in syrup. Continue until all the ingredients are finished.
  • Strain the leftover of the syrup and pour over the pudding. Cover with aluminium foil and bake the pudding for about 20 minutes. Check from time to time by lifting the foil and flattening the pudding with a spoon. Lower the heat to 300ºF(150ºC) and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve this pudding lukewarm.

SERVES 6 PEOPLES

Buen Provecho!!!!!

Dancing Chef Maaike

Organic gardening in Cabo San Lucas

My love of Organic Gardening and the world around us, started at a very young age. Watching my mother compost around a huge, very old Douglas fir tree in Canada.  Moving to Mexico in 1990 for me was just another step in the ever-evolving education of Organic gardening and cooking.

We purchased virgin land in Mexico and as the construction of our bed and breakfast boutique hotel progressed, I sat above the workers listening to them sing and laugh, working in the intense heat of the day and drew the plan of our garden. We wanted to plant in a way that would allow the indigenous species as well as ornamental and eatable to grow together.

Our B and B was known as Casa Terra Cotta i.e. CTC.  The first photo you will see the workers constructing on our virgin land, the beginning of 4 Casitas and a main building housing the kitchen and an outdoor kitchen. The next photo shows you the culmination of 16 years of Organic Gardening and Perma Culture way of planting (intermingling indigenous species with eatable and ornamental varieties) building on a terraced landscape.  We recycled all shower and laundry water into the terraced landscape through underground piping. All the organic waste from our commercial kitchen went into composting the entire 1/3 acre. Hedging was done with Neem trees and other low-water required vegetation.

 

Years later, those efforts were well realized. The hours of digging, planting and waiting for the shade and fruit trees, vegetables and herbs to mature were wonderful.  Eventually, we supplied our commercial kitchen with fruits, herbs and vegetables from our own Organic Garden.  So many great people have helped me to understand the soil, the climate and the art of growing food inMexico. The articles and cook books by the great Diana Kennedy, here in Mexico was the first.

The third photo shows the pathway to the kitchen and also my husband Robert and me. He was the designer and contractor for our entire development, me Chief Cook, Gardener and Bottle Washer…ha…ha..ha…we loved every moment of our life in the B and B business.

 

Keeping in touch with our planet and Mother Nature is an integral part of our being. Our children need to know food does not originate in a box or can, but from the beauty of the soil and its nutrients – in an Organic way to be in harmony with the needs of our planet. Here in beautiful Los Cabos Organic is a way of life and is now taught in our schools. Viva Mexico!

Dancing Chef Sharon

Lela embraces the children of HOPE Landing, Arkansas

Children are the most honest and inquisitive creatures walking the earth . They embrace life with such candor and passion, that we adults could often learn from them.

Last month a guest from Salsa and Salsa Cozumel contacted us about LELA. She suggested that LELA should support her favorite charity HOPE Landing.  HOPE Landing, in South Arkansas, is bringing HOPE and PURPOSE to the lives of children with disabilities by helping them achieve their potential.   

The great thing about HOPE Landing is that 5 women stepped up and said whether Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance pays or not, if the children need it to progress, we need to do our best to provide it.  HOPE Landing provides many non-traditional but proven effective therapies for children:  equine therapy, aquatic therapy, therapy through massage, therapy through drama, summer camp, educational tutoring and many others that can more fully be comprehended by visiting their website www.hopelanding.com. These services are provided regardless of a parent’s ability to pay…..many times at HOPE Landing’s expense.  Of course traditional therapy is provided also. 

The concept of HOPE Landing touched the hearts of all the Dancing Chefs and we decided to help spread the word. We’re convinced that in this way HOPE Landing can connect with other people that understand how important each and every person is and that we all need a little help sometimes.  During the month of September LELA collected $367USD, which will be used in all the different therapies at the facility.

Paws up for the Dancing Chefs!

It’s no secret that all the Dancing Chefs are big animal lovers! We already supported the pets from Joplin, which were victims of the tornado in May. Sadly enough in Mexico there are many street dogs and cats that have to fend for themselves. In Los Cabos for instance, there is no governmental agency to address the problem of homeless domestic animals living on the streets.

Luckily the Los Cabos Humane Society has taken it upon itself to promote the humane treatment of domestic animals through education, pet population control, rescue and adoption. In 2010 they performed 3100 surgeries (580 more than was budgeted!), 352 total adoptions, educated over 1500 local school children and made several much needed improvements to the Centre. This year they have a very ambitious goal of sterilizing 6000 animals in the Los Cabos area and they will be setting up a “mobile clinic” in San Jose neighborhoods working in conjunction with Servicios Publicos (department that cleans the city). Their operating budget in 2010 was $21,500 USD per month. For 2011 they have budgeted 23,200 per month to help them reach this year’s goals.

We are pleased to announce that Lela the Donating Pig has collected $327USD to allow the Los Cabos Humane Society to continue their wonderful labour.

 

Dancing Chef Heidi from Cabo has her own personal connection with the Los Cabos Humane Society. Here’s a photo of Heidi with her cats “Kaliman” (L) and “Zsa Zsa” (R)… It might not be the greatest shot but it’s not easy to photograph cats who don’t want to be photographed haha (as you can probably tell by the way Kaliman is trying to claw his way to freedom!)

 

She brought Kaliman home from the shelter when he was about two years old. A year later, she found Zsa Zsa living in a tree next to her apartment (she was only about 4-6 weeks old at the time). So, she took her in and the two have been in love with each other ever since (just check out the photo hehe) 🙂

 

During the month of September LELA is collecting funds for the HOPE Landing foundation in Arkansas. We will keep you posted on our Facebook page. Looking at all those LELA pictures of September, it will be a great month!

Olé!!!

Dancing Chef Maaike

‘I may not speak but I have much to say.’ – Angelman Syndrome Foundation

After a couple of months of summer heat, we get back  in touch with all you Dancing Chefs to report on the LELA cause for July 2011. A close friend asked us to support the Angelman Syndrome Foundation (www.angelman.org), which we gladly agreed to. We want to thank all the Dancing Chefs in Cozumel, Cabo and Mazatlan who helped us collect a total of $435USD!

Angelman Syndrome (AS) is a neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in 1 in 15,000 live births. AS is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism. Characteristics of AS include; developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures, and walking and balance disorders. Individuals with Angelman Syndrome will require life-long care.

It fills our hearts with pride that all your bills and coins go to a wonderful cause. The Development Director of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, Eloise Crabb sent us an email to especially thank you:

”This is just tremendous! Thank you so much for choosing us as your cause to support in July. How wonderful and we are most appreciative to you. 
 Again, thank you very much.”
 


 

The coming days we will open up LELA at our 3 locations, to see what she has collected for August’s cause: the Cabo Humane Society.

Hasta pronto!!!!

Dancing Chef Maaike

Dancing Chefs reach out to Tuscaloosa, Alabama

On April 27th a large violent tornado came through Tuscaloosa, destroying many homes and companies. In the hours after the storm, many DCH employees who were not on duty, even some affected by the storm, reported to DCH Regional Medical Center to respond to the more than 900 people being treated. Over 200 employees suffered losses too and still didn’t hesitate to help out others.

The Dancing Chefs decided that these care-givers should receive support for their selfless deeds. And there was a big response from the guests of Salsa and Salsa in Mazatlan, Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas. LELA the Donating Pig collected $640USD in total during the month of May, which was deposited to the M*A*S*H* Fund for DCH Health System employees.

Every one of you who contributed to this cause, should feel very proud of themselves. With your donation you joined the DCH family in this time of need and helped them pull together. With this video all the employees who were affected thank you for your help.
http://youtu.be/vd5VWSX3Gmc

The end of June is coming closer and shortly we will be able to announce how much donations we’ve collected for this month. LELA’s little legs have brought her to Joplin, Missouri to help out the Humane Society to give shelter to pets who were lost in the tornado. All the Dancing Chefs are big animal lovers, so this cause lies close to our hearts. Stay tuned for our next blog post.

Olé!!!!

Dancing Chef Maaike

Lela is held back, but finally comes through

As most of you already know, Lela II was born in Cozumel back in December 2010. Her first mission was ambitious, but we wanted to come in with a bang! For the months of December, January and February, Lela collected donations for a Blood Bank on the island of Cozumel– her new hometown.

Guests from Mazatlan,Cozumel and our new location Los Cabos rallied together to raise a tremendous $3117USD for all three months!

Our goal was to get through all the red tape – opening a blood bank was a much more ambitious task than expected, and we did everything in our power to achieve this goal. After months of meetings, negotiations, arguments with government officials and more, our Blood Bank proposal was rejected by the state of Quintana Roo and we had to abandon the idea of opening a Blood Bank.

We pondered, and ummmed, and ahhhed and wondered what to do…then it hit us – let’s sit down with Red Cross Cozumel and see where Lela’s donation could be best put to work! So, after looking at their big picture, S

alsa and Salsa, along with Lela, Lela II and Lela III (hehehe) decided your donations would have to SAVE LIVES!

As it would have done with the Blood Bank, your donations went towards the purchase to two necessary pieces of equipment for the volunteer work of the Red Cross in Cozumel. You’ll be proud to know your donation went t

o

wards an EKG machine and a defibrillator. Both machines will be used in the 5 ambulances which Red Cross has on the island. The defibrillator has already save a man’s life and both machines will help hundreds of people more!

The Red Cross in Mexico runs solely on donations, with no government support. When we approached the Director for Red Cross Cozumel, Mr Dagoberto, with our idea, he thanked us with a hug which I can only describe as being the warmest, most appreciative hug I have ever experienced in my life. The machines have arrived to Cozumel, and Red Cross wants to thank each and every one of you,  thanks to your kind and generous help – you’ve done something that will truly make a difference to this island – and it is something that will last forever.

Thank you one and all – and we look forward to hearing from you.

Dancing Chef – Cozumel

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