Eating In The Embassy: Sampling The Cuisine Of Chile (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Eating In The Embassy: Sampling The Cuisine Of Chile

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:09
Welcome back to "Metro Connection." I'm Rebecca Sheir. And this week, we're hanging out with friends and neighbors. Earlier in the hour, we heard about a new partnership between farmers and monks and we visited a space of worship shared by neighbors of different faiths. Well, next we'll meet some neighbors of different nationalities as we kick off our new series, "Eating in the Embassy."

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:30
The series was actually inspired by a friend and neighbor we featured a few times here on "Metro Connection," Eater DC. For the past few months, the food blog's editor, Amy McKeever, has been visiting Washington's embassies to see what it's like to work in an embassy kitchen. And on her most recent visit...

MS. AMY MCKEEVER

00:00:46
All right, so here we are at the embassy of Chile.

MS. AMY MCKEEVER

00:00:50
Sure are.

SHEIR

00:00:50
I tagged along. Should I go inside?

MCKEEVER

00:00:54
Yeah, let's do it.

SHEIR

00:00:55
When Amy and I swung by the Chilean embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, our first stop wasn't actually the kitchen, but rather...

SHEIR

00:01:01
Hi, I'm Rebecca.

MR. FELIPE BULNES

00:01:03
Becca? Rebecca or Becca?

SHEIR

00:01:04
Rebecca. The office of the ambassador.

BULNES

00:01:06
Please, have a seat. Please.

SHEIR

00:01:09
Felipe Bulnes has been the ambassador of Chile for just four months now. And as he told me and Amy, he loves traditional Chilean foods, like fish.

BULNES

00:01:18
I’m very addicted to sea foods.

SHEIR

00:01:20
Extra-virgin olive oil.

BULNES

00:01:22
I'm obsessed with extra-virgin olive oil.

SHEIR

00:01:24
And lamb.

BULNES

00:01:25
Rack of lambs are very good as well. We have them from Patagonia.

SHEIR

00:01:28
And he adores traditional Chilean dishes, like...

BULNES

00:01:32
Empanadas.

SHEIR

00:01:33
Or stuffed pastries.

BULNES

00:01:34
Umitas.

SHEIR

00:01:35
A kind of Chilean tamale.

BULNES

00:01:36
And we have also a very classic Chilean dish called pastel de choclo. That is made out of corn and chicken and some egg, and some onion. I am not the one who can, you know, give all the details of the recipe, but trust me it's very good.

SHEIR

00:01:57
Well it just so happens that after interviewing the ambassador, I got to interview the one who not only can give all the details of the recipe, but who can make it, too. (Speaking foreign language)

MS. MARIA DEL ROSARIO GOMEZ

00:02:08
Maria Del Rosario Gomez.

SHEIR

00:02:10
Rosario, as she's called, is the chef at the ambassador’s residence. The born-and-bred Chilean is still learning English, since she’s only been in the U.S. a few months. But she’s been cooking as a chef for quite a few years.

GOMEZ

00:02:21
(Speaking foreign language)

MCKEEVER

00:02:23
Forty years? What?

SHEIR

00:02:26
Wow. Inside the residence’s spacious white kitchen, Rosario demonstrates how to make the pastel de choclo, which is kind of like a corn pie. And you fill it with chicken, hardboiled egg and onion, as the ambassador says.

MS. MONICA PELLEGRINI

00:02:41
Also raisins and olives.

SHEIR

00:02:43
As the ambassador's wife, Monica Pellegrini says. And as Rosario says, the final filling is something called pino.

GOMEZ

00:02:50
(Speaking foreign language)

PELLEGRINI

00:02:53
Meat and onion.

SHEIR

00:02:55
Which you’ll find pino in other Chilean dishes too, like empanadas, which, by the way, Rosario plans to make 500 of come Chile’s Independence Day Celebration on September 18th. That's a lot of empanadas. (Speaking foreign language). But anyway, back to the pastel de choclo. Once you've got all the fillings in, you cover them with this creamy puree of corn and basil.

GOMEZ

00:03:16
(Speaking foreign language)

PELLEGRINI

00:03:21
She put some salt in this mixture of corn and basil, because here in the States, the corn is sweeter than in Chile.

GOMEZ

00:03:30
(Speaking foreign language)

PELLEGRINI

00:03:33
Instead of salt you put sugar in Chile.

SHEIR

00:03:37
Then you pop the pastel in the oven, bake it until it’s golden brown.

PELLEGRINI

00:03:40
And then it's ready and you can eat it right away.

SHEIR

00:03:44
Which incidentally is precisely what I do. I like it a lot. And I wash it all down with some Chilean red wine. Another Chilean edible that Ambassador Felipe Bulnes says sets his country apart.

BULNES

00:04:00
I think there’s no good food if you don’t have a Chilean wine on your side. And trust me, I have tried all kind of wines and so I know from my heart that I am giving you wonderful advice. Okay?

SHEIR

00:04:12
The ambassador enjoys sharing his beloved Chilean cuisine with others in D.C., every time the embassy holds an event, like the recent reception for Robert Zoellick, former head of the World Bank.

BULNES

00:04:21
We are always trying to see Chile as not only a country that is determined to be developed by the end of this decade, but also we have a wonderful cuisine and it’s gaining space as time goes by. It’s another window for people to get a sense of what Chile means.

SHEIR

00:04:38
And good food, he says, is a good way to get to know any country -- from its heart, to its soul, to, yes, its stomach.

SHEIR

00:05:06
Thanks to Eater DC for helping us launch our new series, "Eating in the Embassy." Stay tuned to future installments to hear where we eat next. In the meantime, if you're having a hankering for a little pastel de choclo right about now, you can find our recipe on our website, metroconnection.org.
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