The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

My evening with Chef Azevedo

California State University, Stanislaus Center for Portuguese Studies hosted “An Evening with Chef Manuel Azevedo” at East Lake Ranch in Turlock, CA last Saturday.
The fourth annual event brought their largest turnout yet.
Thinking I was in for a night of Portuguese delicacies, I was excited to experience a culture I was unfamiliar with, especially through food. I came hungry, expecting to leave satisfied by this new cultural experience and with my belly full.
Nestled in a thick layer of pine, maple and willow trees, the venue is a lush oasis, complete with fountains and verdant plant life. I had all but forgotten the dairy farm just down the road as I gazed across the calm lake to my right.
The event quietly opened with hors d’oeuvres. Sadly, it was not the Portuguese food I was hoping for. Instead, I munched on grapes, crackers and dip as I waited for about an hour for the main event to start.
Wishing I had dressed less casually, I awkwardly shuffled around the picturesque venue in my sandals and jeans among guests in more formal attire. I quickly took a seat in one of many chairs facing a stage that was framed by trees adorned with strings of lights.
To my surprise, President Sheley was also in attendance. Kicking off the event, he briefly thanked the hosts and talked about the importance of university involvement in the community, and vice versa.
“That to me is something that’s really important in our university […] because it’s not just about Portugal; it’s not just about heritage,” Sheley said. “It’s about this particular community and I want our university to be really linked to our regional community. If we weren’t linked to you, and to this event, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re supposed to do.”
With that, a quartet of fado (loosely pronounced “fah-doo”) musicians took the stage and I listened to their set in delighted wonder. This particular group consisted of three acoustic guitars and a fado guitar, which is much smaller and more circular than an acoustic guitar.
The audience clapped to the beat of the music as three different singers took the stage throughout the set. Though I did not understand the language they were singing in, I was still able to appreciate the beauty of the music.
To much applause, Chef Azevedo was invited to the stage to begin his presentation. He spoke about his upbringing, how he became a chef and his new book “Cozinha Nova Portuguesa” (or New Portuguese Cuisine), which sold out at the event.
Chef Azevedo closed with a Q&A session with the audience, where he confirmed the rumor that he was interested in the possibility of opening a Portuguese restaurant in Turlock.
All in all, it was a lovely evening at East Lake Ranch with Chef Azevedo. But all of the chef’s talk about cozinha nova Portuguesa left my mouth watering with the vision of sizzling linguica and thick loaves of warm Portuguese bread that never manifested. My only complaint: I left as hungry as I came.

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My evening with Chef Azevedo