Patti Wenzel

Latino Arts serves up “The Cooking Show” for your dining pleasure

By - May 18th, 2011 04:00 am
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Chef Karimi of The Cooking Show with a comrade assist

I’m of the generation where, no matter what, my parents and siblings ate dinner together every night. I continued that practice with my own children until most of them went off to college. Our daily gatherings could be centered around a full meal with all the trimmings or hot dogs and blue-box mac n’ cheese. While the food varied, one dish was always on the table – discussion about the issues of the day.

On Friday night, Chef Mero Cocenero Karimi and his “brother” Comrade Castro will bring the dining room table (and all the food and conversation that go with it) to Milwaukee in The Cooking Show Con Karimi and Comrades at Latino Arts.

Chef Karimi is really Robert Karimi, a performance artist and accomplished cook who has combined his love of food and talk into a successful stage show based on 1970s PBS cooking shows. The premise seems quaint with the explosion of food porn on cable TV, but Karimi sees the concept as a means to connect with his audience, as the format allows for interaction and discussion.

Karimi explained he uses recipes from his Iranian-Guatamalen family and friends and brings audience members on stage to help with the prep and cooking. There is eating, dancing, singing and talk, with food being the continuous thread that unites them all — just like the family dining room table.

The menu is a secret, but Karimi likes to use products grown within 150 miles of the performance venue — expect gourmet Midwestern dishes with a Persian and Central American flair.

“This is not about messing with food, but about bringing joy into the kitchen,” Karimi says. “With energy prices so high, we plan on bringing plenty of energy with us.”

Karimi is a firm believer in the family dining experience. In The Cooking Show, his” family” is the audience, and the talk can vary depending on who is at the table.

“We talk about anything – politics, food prices, farming, the economy, our relationship with food,” he said. “Sometimes it verges into satire, but I like to think of it as a different recipe for change and a new way of thinking.”

He is excited about coming to Milwaukee and Wisconsin, which has become the epicenter of political and social discussions across the country and world.

“I’ve heard about the Arab Spring; now I’m hoping I’ll be there for the Wisconsin Spring.”

The audience gets a taste of The Cooking Show Con Karimi and Comrades

Karimi is also hoping to visit with Will Allen, Josh Fraundorf and Jim Godsil, the founders of Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics, respectively. Karimi says his show also looks at food sustainability and he hopes he lights a spark that will encourage more people to follow in the footsteps of Wisconsin’s urban food pioneers.

“I’m also looking forward to discussing if the collective agreement between Laverne and Shirley is still binding, plus I want to check out whether all these fresh political faces are still ripe or if they have spoiled on the vine,” Karimi said.

While reviews of The Cooking Show note that Karimi and Comrade Castro take a decidedly liberal-bent, the chef says his primary focus is food diversity.

“Everyone can be inspired by [The Cooking Show]. I want to show that even coffee and tea can party together,” he said. “Remember, it is what we eat that keeps us together, not what we cut.”

The Cooking Show Con Karimi and Comrades, takes place at Latino Arts Auditorium and Gallery on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.  A special pre-show is available, featuring Cafe el Sol’s Friday Fish Fry.

Categories: Dining, Theater

0 thoughts on “Latino Arts serves up “The Cooking Show” for your dining pleasure”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It seems like it’ll be an exciting time. as a passionate about cooking and experimenting individual, i am always on the look out for new and different ideas. this specially hits close to home since I am of Persian heritage and my love of food began early in my life. food is a quintessential part of family gatherings in my culture. that is the part that I most certainly miss the most.

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