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Award-winning Chefs Share Holiday Entertaining Tips

Rick Bayless, Roberto Santiba??ez and Iliana del la Vega help make preparing for holiday parties a breeze‘«™with a Mexican twist

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: December 20, 2011

Award-winning Chefs Share Holiday Entertaining Tips

Avocados from Mexico teamed up with three award-winning chefs to host holiday parties for three lucky winners of the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association's (MHAIA) Holiday Personal Chef Sweepstakes. The winners received a holiday party for their family and friends prepared by Chefs Rick Bayless, Top Chef Masters Season one winner and chef/owner of Chicago's popular Frontera restaurant; Iliana de la Vega, culinary educator and restaurateur; or Roberto Santiba??ez (pictured), restaurateur and author of "Truly Mexican." The chefs provided their expert advice for holiday entertaining in short "webisodes" highlighting the delicious food, enjoyable company and atmosphere of successful holiday parties, which can be viewed on MHAIA's Facebook page, Their tips include:

Use Seasonal Ingredients ‘«Ű Chef Rick Bayless recommends using fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible to get the most flavor out of holiday meals. "Fresh in-season produce always provides the best flavors," says Chef Bayless. "I made a decadent guacamole using sundried tomatoes, crispy bacon and avocados from Mexico, which are available year-round," he explained, referring to the party he hosted in Manalapan, New Jersey on December 3rd.

Plan Ahead - For Chef Iliana de la Vega, the best part of holiday entertaining is spending time with friends and family and she was excited to provide that experience to a family in Atlanta, Georgia on December 2nd. "Mexican food is great for entertaining because you can prepare most of it ahead of time and then simply garnish or re-heat when guests arrive. You aren't stuck in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying themselves," Chef de la Vega explains. "At the party, I prepared shrimp cocktail in a creamy avocado sauce a few hours prior to the party and kept it fresh by placing plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce before refrigerating."

Stick to the Basics ‘«Ű "If you learn some basic sauces ‘«Ű in Mexican cooking that can be salsas, guacamoles, adobos or moles ‘«Ű you'll find you can create a variety of dishes, from appetizers and snacks to delicious entrees with ease," suggests Chef Roberto Santibanez. "For example, I dressed up a poached chicken with a delicious pistachio sauce but it also would have been great with fish or a rack of lamb," he explained, referring to the party he hosted in Lake Havasu, Arizona on December 2nd.

MHAIA rounded out this program with a satellite media tour and a Twitter party with Chef Santibanez serving as spokesperson, sharing recipes and tips for putting a twist on traditional holiday meals.

To learn more and view the webisodes with tips from the three chefs, visit the Amazing Avocado Facebook page

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