Posted on May 1st

Estela Calzada, May Artist of the Month

Chefs prepare meals that are pleasing to the palate as well as to the eyes. Through the Nibble Cooking classes, we have witnessed how the preparation and presentation of food is an art. It’s not a surprise that Estela Calzada is the Somerville Arts Council Artist of the Month. “I consider cooking an expression of art because food can transmit a message about your culture” said Estela, who has taught how to cook Mexican pre hispanic food in the Nibble Program. Find below an excerpt of Estela’s interview who has showed us how the food is part of what we are. Click here to find the complete interview.

Estela Calzada, photo by Jaclyn Tyler

Estela Calzada, photo by Jaclyn Tyler

A brief overview of what Estela does

“I’m a home cook and I love my culinary roots from Mexico. I consider cooking an expression of art because food can transmit a message about your culture. In my case, I share my pre-hispanic Mexican culture through dishes that include ingredients like, nopales, huitlacoche, and corn. I teach the different ways to cook with these ingredients.

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Estela Calzada, photo by Jaclyn Tyler

When I cook, I enjoy not only choosing diverse and colorful ingredients to create an attractive dish, but also sharing the story behind those ingredients. For instance, mole, from Nahuatl molli means sauce, and it is a traditional dish in Mexico. There are many different types of Mole, but my recipe includes over 40 ingredients, including turkey, various nuts and seeds, and locally produced chocolate. Applying traditional techniques to make the right combination of ingredients is labor intensive and takes a certain level of dedication to do well. This is why I believe cooking is an art!” Estela Calzada, Nibble Culinary Entrepreneur

Nibble Culinary Entrepreneur

Estela is part of our Nibble Culinary Entrepreneurship program, which empowers members of our local immigrant communities to explore culinary careers and create rich intercultural programming. Find below more information about Estela and stay tuned to know more about other entrepreneurs who hailed from around the world!

Originally From: Durango, Mexico

Culinary Dream: To own a full-service restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine.

Ethnic Specialty: Mole – an intensely aromatic and flavorful Mexican specialty.

On the NEP Program: “The Nibble program has offered me the opportunity to share my food and my culture” said Estela. She has participated in Somerville festivals and pop-ups sharing her Mexican culture throught the food, and all the benefits that the pre hispanic ingredients have. The nopal water is one of her favorites because it’s healthy and fresh.  She has also taught numerous cooking classes about how to cook nopales, tamales, mole, chilaquiles, and chiles en nogada from scratch!

NEP Projects: Open Kitchens Participant, Long-time Nibble Cooking Class Instructor, 2 x Vendor at Art Beat, Ignite, and Fluff Fest. Hosted 2 multi course Mexican Pop-Up Dinners, and a successful series of monthly breakfast pop-ups, selling Tamales and Chilaquiles at Kitchen Inc. She obtained the ServSafe certification last year.

Next Steps: She wants to continue teaching classes. Moving forward, she also wants to organize some cooking demonstration or have a book in Spanish to include her recipes along with personal stories.

Food Philosophy: She consider cooking an expression of art because food can transmit a message about different cultures.

Artist of the Month Program

Somerville Arts Council’s Artist Month program is a way for us to celebrate the enormous wealth of talent in our city, by shining a spotlight on a different creative Somervillian each month. The program has been put together by a whole raft of people: Coordinators Jenn Harrington (2013, 2014) and Kellie Veiga (2013), and Somerville Arts Council board members Tim Devin, Valeria Amato, and Michael J. Epstein. Want to nominate someone for the next cycle? Just go to our nomination form.