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Too scared to cook in Baja?

Chefs decline invitations to culinary fest due to widespread violence

Chef Javier Plascencia
Chef Javier Plascencia

International chefs invited to the seventh annual Baja Culinary Fest, scheduled October 19-22, have opted to stay out of Baja California over fear for their lives, according to El Sol de Tijuana.

Chef Javier Plascencia told the newspaper that the refusal of international chefs to attend represents a serious problem for the event, which traditionally attracts prestigious chefs from around the world for a tour of restaurants from taco stands in downtown Tijuana to upscale restaurants in Valle Guadalupe.

Plascencia said the security problems have caused him great sadness and anger because of all the festival has done for the gastronomic industry in Baja California.

World-renowned chefs that Baja Culinary Fest wanted to bring to Tijuana have declined invitations throughout the year, said Placencia. “We know that it’s because of the lack of safety.”

Festival officials have met frequently with municipal and state authorities over how to resolve the problem, said Placencia, but there are not enough police trained to handle such events or sufficient patrols to provide the necessary security.

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Chef Javier Plascencia
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International chefs invited to the seventh annual Baja Culinary Fest, scheduled October 19-22, have opted to stay out of Baja California over fear for their lives, according to El Sol de Tijuana.

Chef Javier Plascencia told the newspaper that the refusal of international chefs to attend represents a serious problem for the event, which traditionally attracts prestigious chefs from around the world for a tour of restaurants from taco stands in downtown Tijuana to upscale restaurants in Valle Guadalupe.

Plascencia said the security problems have caused him great sadness and anger because of all the festival has done for the gastronomic industry in Baja California.

World-renowned chefs that Baja Culinary Fest wanted to bring to Tijuana have declined invitations throughout the year, said Placencia. “We know that it’s because of the lack of safety.”

Festival officials have met frequently with municipal and state authorities over how to resolve the problem, said Placencia, but there are not enough police trained to handle such events or sufficient patrols to provide the necessary security.

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Comments
4

maybe not if it's your safety --

Oct. 17, 2017

I suggest a small edit to the headline. How about having it read "Too smart to cook in Baja?"

The chefs in question don't need to needlessly expose themselves to the endemic crime of Mexico.

Oct. 17, 2017

I have enjoyed many visits to Valle Guadalupe in past several years. It has really been becoming an exciting destination for food and wine. But I have not gone in two years because of the step up in crime. If that region, including Ensenada, want to attract more tourism they need two things; an airport modern enough to permit commercial flights to land (so people do not have to drive through Tijuana or drive at all) and they need to have visible security, like the Mexican Marines. Mexico City is another place I have visited several times and felt safe because of the large federal police and military presence. But now I fear that Mexico City is losing that "safe feeling" because the crime is increasing in the district.

So, that said. I am not traveling to Mexico until they can get a handle on the drug cartels that are terrorizing their people and visitors. I know statistically it's rare for a tourist to be killed or kidnapped, but at some point people look at the numbers and say... No Thanks.

Oct. 17, 2017

For crying out loud. I am single, 55, female, and I routinely drive through that area and am moving down soon. Valle is safe and has wonderful food. I have walked in TJ (not the same as it was when I used to come down as a 20-year-old to party, but not awful). Ensenada, Puerto Nuevo and points south are fine. Just watch out for potholes, don't drive at night (because of the pot holes) don't involve yourself in drugs or get hammered and walk around flashing 100s and you're fine. In other words, be a polite guest in the country and you'll be treated accordingly.

Oct. 19, 2017

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