Radio Houstoned: El Mero Cocinero and The Cooking Show

Click the button below for an interview with El Mero Cocinero and Night & Day Editor Olivia Flores Alvarez.

Robert Karimi puts together comedy, food, politics and culture to serve up the off-Broadway comedy The Cooking Show. “The show is about a progressive chef that wants to change the world, one recipe at a time,” Karimi says. The chef, a.k.a. Mero Cocinero, “went to the Paolo Freire Culinary Institute; it’s a cooking school that you cannot find because they are clandestine and they believe that cooking is a political act that brings communities together. [He has] a sidekick, Comrade Castro, who is a flunky from the CIA, the Culinary Institute of America. Mero Cocinero is Iranian/Guatemalan like me, and Comrade Castro is Filipino, and we do our Iranian-Guatemalan-Filipino fusion, which means we cook whatever the hell we want.”

Mero Cocinero and Comrade Castro really do cook during the performance, pulling people out of the audience to help and offering everyone a taste. The two also revise the script to include tidbits of particular interest to the audience. “I’m fascinated by the folks that came post-Katrina to Houston and made their own space and what’s that about right now,” says Karimi. “That’s one of the things that we’re considering as we’re writing our script right now for Houston, is like what were the meals that were brought over, what’s the new things that are going to be made? When you’re in an emergency, what do you eat?”

But don’t worry, The Cooking Show isn’t a soapbox in disguise. Karimi wants the audience to have fun. “If people just come to the show and have a damn good time and eat damn good food, then we’ve succeeded.” 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Talento Bilingüe, 333 South Jensen Drive. Through December 8. For more information, call 713-222-1213 or visit www.tbhcenter.org. $7 to $12. – Olivia Flores Alvarez

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