Stone Soup Pop-Up Returns To Vaughan's Lounge

NEW ORLEANS – By popular demand, Indigenous Chef César Gachupin de Díos and his son Victor Gachupin Velasco from Oaxaca, Mexico are returning to New Orleans to present the Stone Soup Pop-Up experience on Wednesday, Nov. 9; Friday, Nov. 11; Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13 at Vaughan's Lounge, 4229 Dauphine St., at 6:00 p.m. for each event. 

         Stone Soup is a freshwater seafood soup that is cooked to perfection using red-hot river stones. As an ancient ritual, Stone Soup is prepared by men to honor elders, women, children and distinguished guests of the Chinantec community of Mexico. New Orleans based visual historian Sarah Borealis co-produced “The Path of Stone Soup,” a documentary film that chronicles the Gachupin family as they keep the tradition of preparing stone soup alive. The Gachupins have been designated cultural ambassadors for their native community by the Chinantec Council of Elders.

         The documentary has been featured in festivals and museums in more than 15 countries, and the production team has expanded the reach of the project by adding an experiential culinary pop-up to accompany the film. Chef César and his son Victor have prepared stone soup for audiences in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. The film’s directors, Arturo Juarez Aguilar and Sarah Borealis, will be on hand to talk about the challenges and rewards of translating oral history to audiovisual narrative.

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         The Stone Soup Pop-Up experience in New Orleans includes a cooking demo, a screening of the film with Q&A, a bowl of stone soup, live Latin music performances, and mezcal drink specials made with fresh fruit and herb infusions by Nancy Lovewell of Johnny Sanchez Restaurant. The program at Vaughan’s will also include an exhibition of Chinantec textiles hosted by indigenous designer Elisema Gachupin, and the U.S. premiere of a 10-minute documentary about her innovative designs.

         Borealis said, “I am very excited that our stone soup project has been so warmly welcomed here in New Orleans. This year we are adding an educational outreach component by collaborating with the culinary students at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. Chef César will be offering a workshop on pre-Hispanic cooking techniques and flavors, and the talented young chefs in training at NOCCA will be help him prep ingredients for the pop up.” Director Arturo Juarez Aguilar adds, “I´m really anxious to participate in this cultural encounter- especially in New Orleans, a place so full of history and connection with Latin America. Because at the end of the day we are neighbors, we are related, we are family and we´re all children of mother earth, so we have to share her beauty in all senses. In this case through Chinantec flavor.”

         Chef Instructor Jessie Wightkin Gellini of NOCCA adds, "It is our passion to connect our Culinary Arts students at NOCCA with the story of food. We can talk about different cultures and travel through our taste buds, but connecting with the people who can tell the story of cuisine is priceless.”

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         Chef César Gachupin de Díos said, “For us it is a great privilege to share our tradition, culture, cuisine and especially the stone soup with you. Personally, as a chef who prepares stone soup, a prehispanic food, I am happy to once more be in the city of New Orleans. During this visit, I will share my knowledge of the Chinantec kitchen with a group of culinary students at NOCCA. I will prepare stone ground salsa made in a molcajete, a prehispanic mortar and pestle carved from volcanic rock that can be served with Tortillas de comal — handmade tortillas cooked on a comal, a ceramic cooking surface that dates back centuries.”

         Cindy Wood, the proprietor of Vaughan’s Lounge, the legendary Bywater bar said, “This summer we imported 400 pounds of sacred river stones from Oaxaca, and the return of the Gachupin family demonstrates the incredible connection that exists between Vaughan’s and Mexico.”

         To help the chefs feel more at home this year, she and her partner, Chris Songy, have been planting Mexican herbs in the courtyard of the bar to please both local and global palates.

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         The Stone Soup Pop Up is part of a series of multi-media events that will explore indigenous issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.

         An excerpt from “The Path of Stone Soup” has been broadcast on the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern, and was recently featured in National Geographic’s short film showcase. The full 24-minute film is available for online streaming at Vimeo On Demand.

         Learn more about the Stone Soup project here

         Advanced reservations are recommended and available for $20 – $35 at Eventbrite here

         View the project’s GoFundMe page here



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