Chefs Fernando Martinez, Yaniel Martinez, Bruce Ucan and Anthony Lamas assembled to cook Louisville's first Latin All-Stars dinner on Jan. 30. | All photos by Steve Coomes

Does it look like the chefs smiling above are happy?

Giddy was a word I heard used several times—no kidding— last night during the first Louisville Latin All-Stars dinner, when the foursome and a cadre of cooks teamed up to make a seven-course, paired dinner for 50 guests at Seviche (photos below). The meal was a fundraiser for Partners in Health, a global health organization committed to improving the health of poor and marginalized people. But as you can see, it was a fun-raiser for a bunch of guys who rarely get out of their own restaurants, much less cook with their competitors.

At left is Fernando Martinez, who along with Yaniel Martinez to his left, makes up two of three partners in OLE Restaurant Group, which owns several Louisville restaurants, among them Artesano Vino Tapas y Mas, and Guaca Mole. To his left is Bruce Ucan, executive chef and partner at Mayan Café, and to his left, Anthony Lamas, chef-owner at Seviche. As Lamas said in my podcast interview with him (click here to listen), the meal was a collaborative effort that began many weeks ago. In addition to raising funds at a pace of $225 per person, it allowed them to showcase the best of their combined Latin heritage and mad cooking skills.

Needless to say, it was a fantastic dinner, one I was lucky enough to be invited to cover. The mastication marathon began with passed appetizers followed by seven paired courses: six with Chilean and Argentinian wines and one with 23-year-old Panama Pacific Rum. The three-hour chow-down was perfectly paced and portioned, a feat not always easy with intricate platings and an assemblage of strong wills in a single, hot room.

The event will recur, they say, though no date is set. Lamas said the chefs already are discussing inviting culinary peers from other cities to join them, so keep watch for your chance to do this next time it rolls around.

Feast your eyes on their creations below.

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Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 25-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation’s Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass, Whisky Magazine, WhiskeyWash.com and The Bourbon Review. The author of two books, “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke,” and the “Home Distiller’s Guide to Spirits,” he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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