It’s a tough job, but some theater company’s got to do it. To gather inspiration and stories for this summer’s new production of Feast, APTP company members cooked and samples cuisines from around the globe. To whet your appetite for Feast, here’s a gallery of images from some of our culinary adventures.

One of our tastiest inspirations came from APTP’s board president, Samir Mayekar, who taught us to cook home-style delicacies from Rajasthan, sharing favorite recipes he learned from his mother. Ensemble member Chelsee Nava reflected on the experience:

APTP board president Samir Mayekar teaches ensemble member to make one of his favorite dishes that he learned from his mother.

“I was unsure whether I was going to like the Indian food we cooked because it was new to me. I was intrigued by all the steps and how one dish can have so many spices – I didn’t even know all those spices existed! It was a great feeling to know that I helped create the meal and that it brought many of us together.

"Making chapattis is such a delicate art! If I threw them on the pan carelessly, they would rip or leave bubbles." (Chelsee Nava)

“My favorite part was heating the chapattis with Alyanna and Maidenwena. It required a lot of team work. Samir shared his story with us of how he would watch his grandmother make them from scratch. It reminded me of when my Mom makes home-made tortillas and how the dough is so delicate and fragile that one mistake could ruin the whole tortilla. It is actually an art to make chapattis and tortillas. And it all tasted amazing!”

Chef Shah of Paprika Restaurant teaches Alyanna Parajado to cook specialties from India.

Continuing our journey into the cuisine of India, we spent an evening in the kitchen of Paprika Restaurant, where Chef Shah Kabir taught APTP ensemble member Alyanna Parajado to make lamb biryani, pappadams, beef samosas, coconut chicken, and more. In Feast, Alyanna – who was born in the Philippines – crafts a tender and moving portrait of a woman from Kerala, in southern Indian.

APTP ensemble members interviewed women who started a Mole Festival in the Little Village community.

More familiar to many APTPians was our journey into the kitchens of Mexican immigrants in the Little Village neighborhood. Ten years ago, a group of women at Universidad Popular started Chicago’s first Fiesta del Mole, celebrating Mexico’s national dish and one of the most complex sauces in the world. Each year sees a fierce – but loving – competition for who makes the best mole. Before they shared their recipes with us, they swore us to secrecy!

Moleras teaching us their top secret mole recipes.

One of the three moles APTPians learned to make from women at Universidad Popular.