The 4th Annual Universal Pasteles Contest
PHOTO: New York Ricans celebrate the delectable ‘pastel’ in El Barrio
(November 18, 2017) One of the celebrated staples of Puerto Rican holiday cuisine is ‘el pastel.’ A social gathering organized by artist Taína Traverso turns a spotlight on this delectable source of traditional sustenance, nutrition, and joyful cultural notions of family and social gatherings.
Now in its fourth year, the Universal Pasteles Contest calls on members of the community, from homemakers to professional chefs, to take on the challenge as to whose pasteles can garner the favor of celebrity judges. The contest is divided into two categories: ‘Traditional’ and ‘Non-Traditional’. ‘Traditional’ entries must be banana-based masa with pork stuffing. ‘Non-Traditional’ entries can consist of anything edible from Vegan (or non-meat), to Rice-based masa, and, surprisingly, Yuca-based (Cassava) masa.
After much tasting by the two panels of judges, old-school R&B music-mixing by DJs Ralph Mercado III and Blazer One with vigorous tribal dancing by attendees, the winners of the 4th Annual Universal Pasteles Contest in the ‘Traditional’ category were: Derick López, Marina Carbonell and Dilia Collazo. In the ‘Non-Traditional’ category, the winners were: Nilda Rodriguez, Lydia Burgos, and Leticia Rodriguez.
BombaYo was a featured presentation at the contest. As people did their dances to the Bomba rhythm, dollar bills were strewn onto the floor in front of the drummers. The money was later collected and added to the group’s Puerto Rico Relief Efforts.
The 4th Annual Universal Pasteles Contest was held at the El Barrio ArtSpace, and sponsored, in part, by Taina’s Touch Arts Enterprize, Inc., Casabe Houses, and Liquitone Entertainment.