On Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, those who visited the Marketplace for their regular lunch break were treated to something quite different—the Flavors of Spain.

Sodexo dining services brought the Flavors of Spain event to the D.P. Culp University Center Marketplace and Ballroom. At around noon on each day, the event featured Chef Mayte Cabello.

Cabello is a native from Madrid, Spain, and her presence at ETSU was due to her success in the Global Chefs Program. Cabello isn’t just the first place winner of the competitive program, but also the first female winner of the competition in Spain.

The Global Chefs Program is a Sodexo competition where each spring and fall a dozen Sodexo chefs from around the world come to the United States, or other countries, to share their cuisine. They are able to tour for a four week period and bring their cuisine to Sodexo customers, which may include colleges, universities, medical centers and even government agencies.

The program exposes chefs to different cultures and allows Sodexo customers a chance to eat and learn foreign cooking techniques.

As a result of her victory in Spain, Cabello was able to embark on her Flavors of Spain tour. So far, the chef has traveled through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina and now Tennessee.

When asked which state had been her favorite she smiled and said, “Here.”

Fluent in Spanish and French, Cabello explained through a translator that, “People here were very helpful. The fact that communication, in the kitchen, was possible was a big plus.”

Cabello’s two day stay at ETSU was split between two rooms on the Culp Center’s third floor. On Thursday she served students in the Marketplace and on Friday,  she served dishes to a crowd of invited guest.

For the Friday meal, guests were able to indulge in treats such as patatas bravas (spicy potato skins), montadito de calamares (fried calamari with lemon), peras al vino tinto (pears in red wine) and others.

At the meal’s conclusion on Friday, Cabello was honored by the applause of the guests. At each perfectly arranged table, there was a hat, or sombrero, which everyone was then encouraged to don.

“The purpose of this event is to showcase the cuisine,” said Kayla Tucker, marketing manager for Sodexo at ETSU. “It’s for people to learn about Spain and it’s diversity.”