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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)




2/20/2016

In Memoriam, Seven-star Chef Santi Santamaría, Pinotxo's Albert Asín & La Boquería President Manel Ripoll, All of Whom Died Five Years Ago



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Santi Santamaria, que decanses en paz.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com /
http://thespanishartisanwinegroup.com / http://gerrydawesspain.com

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Sadly, three-star Catalan chef Santi Santamaría and two other Catalan friends of mine, Pinotxo's Albert Asín and Boquería Owner’s Association President Manel Ripol all died around this time in 2011. I still miss all of them very much.   Hard to believe that they have been gone for five years.

The late Manel Ripoll, then President of 
La Boquería market in Barcelona.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com


The late Albert Asín Bayen, who, with his brother Jordi,
manned the stoves at Pinotxo in La Boquería, Barcelona.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com

This is from my article in Food Arts about Santi Santamaría sudden death on Feb. 16, 2011.
(Short slide show at the end of the article.)

Seven-star Catalan Chef Santiago “Santi” Santamaría 
Dies in Singapore

by Gerry Dawes

    We all must die, but few of us will go out in such a blaze of glory as Santiago “Santi” Santamaría, one of Europe’s greatest chefs, who died in Singapore of a massive heart attack on February 16.   The night before he died, the 53-year old Santi was at an event with fellow celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Tetsuya Wakuda, Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy and Justin Quek, all of whom were in Singapore to promote their restaurants in the newly opened Marina Bay Sands complex.  According to one of the multitude of journalists from around the world who were invited to cover this heavily promoted event, Cristino Álvarez, a veteran Spanish food journalist, “Later, Santi joined me two other top Spanish food writers, Carlos Maribona and Juanma Bellever, for gin-and-tonics (the de rigor drink of Spanish chefs).”
 
    The next day each of the star chefs served samples of their food to groups of the invited journalists.  Santamaría’s dishes included the traditional pan tumaca, Catalan bread spread with a combination of Spanish extra virgen olive oil and raw garlic, rubbed with fresh tomato and topped with paper-thin slice of Ibérico ham.  According to Cristino Álvarez, Santamaría was in the dining room and asked him if he would like to see the kitchen.  Santamaría whose corpulent figure was more than ample evidence of his well-documented love of eating, had just finished eating a piece of pan tumaca.  Ironically this quintessentially Catalan dish would be the last morsel of food ever savored by Santamaría–a traditionalist from inland, mountainous Montseny region of Catalunya--whose modern dishes were always designed to incorporate his insistence on Catalan roots, even though the techniques and twists he put on the dishes were often unmistakably French, influenced his the large collection of cookery books from France.

    Álvarez told this writer, “As we entered the kitchen, Santi turned to me and said, ‘I am really going downhill fast!’ and then he collapsed.  I summoned help and several of us futilely tried to revive him.”
 
    The self-taught Santamaría was an exceptionally talented, albeit exceptionally controversial chef.  His flagship establishment at the time of his death is El Racó de Can Fabes, in the village of San Celoni (near Barcelona).   Santamaría, who like his father and grandfather was born in the house that became his restaurant, then hotel.  He left his studies as an industrial engineer, opened a bar, then a Catalan bistro here, serving such dishes as pan amb tomaquet (the tomato bread, his last bite),  botifarra amb mongetes (beans with Catalan sausage), before  El Racó de Can Fabes, with Santamaría manning the kitchen, evolved into the first Catalan restaurant to earn three Michelin rosettes (in 1994; his first came in 1989).  He went on to open successful restaurants in Barcelona and Madrid through his association with Hesperia hotel group.   
 
    Santamaría’s feuds with Spain’s cocina de vanguardia chefs, especially Ferran Adriá, over their use of commercial food industry enhancements to their food made headlines in Europe and turned Santamaria into a pariah among his Spanish peers and Spain’s gastronomy writers.  

    In spite of the ostracism, he earned a total of seven Michelin rosettes (the most held by any chef from Spain), including two for his San Celoni restaurant in Madrid and he also opened restaurants in Asia at Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel and in Singapore the eponymous Santi, run by his daughter, Regina, who was with him when he died.  Santamaria also wrote 10 books on cooking and was awarded Spain's National Gastronomy Prize in 2009.
 
    After Daniel Boulud returned to New York, he told me, “Santi was in great spirits the night before he died, so his death was a great shock to all of the chefs.  The gala dinner, when all the chefs at the Marina Bay complex were supposed to cook, was the night after Santi died.  We all decided to dedicate the dinner to him, so we put our very best efforts in our dishes to pay homage to Santi.  Afterwards we got together, Mario Batali made some food and we all reminisced about him.  He was such a truly great chef.”   
 
    Fellow three-star chef, Guy Savoy said “Santi left us for too early, but to take leave of us in his kitchen was a beautiful way to go."
 
--The End--



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Gerry Dawes's Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Melting Watch Awards.
To all three of these sadly missed great culinary lights.

_________________________________________________________


Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts.


video
  Trailer for a proposed reality television series on 
wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

2/16/2016

Looking Back: Food Arts Magazine Silver Spoon Award Ferran Adrià, Juan Mari Arzak July 2003


Ferran Adrià.

Ferran Adrià, Juan Mari Arzak

by Gerry Dawes / July 2003 

Food Arts presents the July/August 2003 Silver Spoon Award for plata de ley performance to two Spaniards, Basque chef Juan Mari Arzak, the Wilbur Wright of modern Spanish Cuisine, and Ferran Adrià, the Catalan wizard who has taken Spanish food into the culinary stratosphere. Arzak, chef/owner of the Michelin three-star Arzak in San Sebastián, is revered as the father of Spanish cucina nueva vasca (new Basque cuisine), a cooking doctrine that was the vital bridge between traditional Spanish food and an internationally oriented modern cuisine. Adrià, chef/partner of the now mythical Michelin three-star El Bulli, which overlooks an isolated seaside cove two hours north of Barcelona, is widely considered to be the most innovative, creative, original, and, to some, best chef in the world.

The 60-something Arzak and 40-year old Adrià have led the dizzying ascendancy of Spanish gastronomy to the point where a growing number of savvy culinary professionals, including envious Frenchmen, now consider Spanish chefs to be the most exciting in Europe. Arzak is not alone in believing that "at this moment, Spain has one of the most important cuisines in the world." On these pilgrimages to see the two maestros and other great Spanish chefs, many culinarians have also discovered the glories of traditional Spanish cuisine; thus, Arzak and Adrià have helped raise all boats in their wake.

Arzak was born in the building that houses Arzak (once his family's tavern/restaurant). He learned the basics at his mother's side and, through intelligence and imagination, elevated his family's restaurant to the Michelin three-star pantheon in 1989. With his daughter Elena in the kitchen alongside him, Arzak adds twists to traditional Basque dishes such as ventresca de bonito, lightly smoked cuts of choice bonito belly speared with a mentholated bone. El Viejo Rockero (The Old Rocker), as Arzak sometimes calls himself, still claims that his favorite dish is fried farmhouse eggs served with roasted red peppers.

Adrià, the creator of wildly imitated foams and other coolly calculated concoctions meant to stimulate the brain as well as the palate, is now the most sought after chef in the world. His recently published book, elBulli 1998-2002 (with brother/pastry chef Alberto Adrià and restaurant partner Juli Soler), the first in what will be three volumes celebrating Andrià's 20 years at El Bulli, will not be published in English until later this year, yet acolytes have bought up more than 100 copies at $175 a pop at Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City "as if it cost $14.95," reports Nach Waxman, the bookstore's owner. 

Adrià's menus, conceived in his off-premise laboratory during El Bulli's five month winter hibernation, are controversial, electrifying feats of artistic and technological virtuosity. His menú de degustación can total 30 samples of what might be called "tapas with attitude," several of which are indeed served on a silver spoon. Like Arzak's, Adrià's favorite dish is somewhat more plebeian: skillet cooked green asparagus, sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt, please hold the foam.

___________________________________________________  

About Gerry Dawes  

Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel  

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

 In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

 ". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
video
Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series  
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

2/09/2016

Gastronomic Adventures in Alicante Province: Quique Dacosta Gets His Well-deserved Third Michelin Star; Plus Personal Adventures with Quique & Casa Elías in Xinorelet


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Posted Image
Quique Dacosta at Casa Elías, Xinorlet (Alicante), October 18, 2012.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011. gerrydawes@aol.com

Quique Dacosta has long been a friend of mine.  I was very happy to hear that is was announced in November that he had received his third Michelin star, for which he has worked so hard for so many years.  I last ate at Restaurante Quique Dacosta in October 2011, when I was staying in Denia at Hotel La Posada del Mar.  I was traveling with Ryan Mcilwraith, Michael Chiarello's executive sous chef and we were supposed to go to Quique Dacosta that night.  Ryan was sick with a bad stomach, so I decided not to go either, but Quique called me on my cell phone at 10:30 p.m. and demanded that I get my ass over there (it is about 2 kilometers from the hotel), so I ended up going by myself.  I was pretty wiped out from ten days of taking Michael and Ryan around northern Spain (Michael had left the day before from Barcelona), so I told Quique I was only up for an abbreviated menu.  He sent out a dazzling parade of his incredible cocina de vanguardia estilo Quique dishes, then came out and sat with me for half an hour.


Posted Image
Quique Dacosta, Denia (Alicante). Dish with the spooky vapors of the dry ice beneath swirling around your food.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011. gerrydawes@aol.com

In October 2012, I was the inaugural speaker at the annual Turismo conference in Benidorm (Alicante) and I met Director General de Turismo de Valencia Sebastian Fernández, who told me he was going for lunch at one of my favorite restaurantes in Spain, Casa Elías, a exceptional family place in the small village of Xinorlet.   Casa Elías specializes in wonderful thin-layered arroses (rice dishes, call them paellas) con conejo y caracoles (rabbit and local snails [with fresh rosemary]) cooked over grape vine cuttings, usually from the local Monastrell vineyards.  Casa Elías also serves a number of other authentic local speciaties (see photos of the luncheon here: Xinorlet (Alicante) Casa Elias Rabbit & Snail Paella Paco Torreblanca - Quique Dacosta Oct 18, 2012).  Sr. Fernández also told me that two great friends--two of my favorite Spanish chefs--Quique Dacosta and Paco Torreblanca were also coming.  I managed to wrangle (not wangle) an invitation to accompany Sr. Fernández to the luncheon.  

We got to Casa Elías first and I hid in a private dining room until Paco, his wife Chelo, Quique and journalist Maria Canabal (http://www.gastronomad.eu) were in the main dining, then came out to surprise them (I took it as a good sign that they didn't flee).  I felt like I had hit the lottery.  Not only did I get to schmooze the Director of Tourism for Valencia on the hour-long ride from Benidorm to Xinorlet and have a chance to eat the terrific food at Casa Elías again, among my dining companions for the next two hours were two of Spain's real culinary super stars:  Paco Torreblanca may be the top chocolatier in Europe and Quique Dacosta could well be the heir apparent to Ferran Adrià's throne, now that elBulli has closed. 

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Paco Torreblanca Slideshow, Including the Full Food Arts Article.

I never see Quique without remembering (how could I not?) that on September 11, 2001 I was having lunch with Santa Fe Chef Mark Miller (then owner of Coyote Cafe) at Quique's restaurant in Denia, at the time called El Poblet.  Halfway through a terrific meal--we were having a course of supernal grilled gambas de Denia  (superb rosa-colored shrimp that actually come from deep water off the Balearic island of Ibiza), when my Spanish cell phone rang.  It was chef Teresa Barrenechea, who then owned Marichu restaurant in Manhattan.  She, too, was traveling in Spain.  She told me that a plane had hit The World Trade Center.  I thought, "Wow, someone has had the misfortune to have crashed a private plane into The World Trade Center!"   Soon enough, Quique called us to the bar, where we saw the rest in real time, including the second plane crashing into the second tower.  Mark Miller, Quique, myself and his employees watched dumbfounded as we the events unfolded on television.  Mark Miller's Coyote Cafe restaurant managers from Santa Fe and Las Vegas were still in-flight headed for Valencia, where we were supposed to pick them up after lunch.  


Posted Image
Mark Miller (at the end of the table) and some friends tasting wines with me at Taberna La Boca in Santa Fe 
during the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta in September 2012

Miller's managers were able to get to Valencia on time, but, as we soon found out, there would be no going back to the U.S. right away, since all flights were grounded, so we continued on our planned intinerary to Barcelona, Navarra, The Basque Country, la Rioja and back to Madrid.   In Navarra, we had lunch in Tudela, and found out the next day that an Al-Qaeda operative who had planned to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris had been apprehended in a nearby village, where he had been living for several months.

For several days, I was sure that I had lost friends in The World Trade Center attack, including Michael Lomonaco, one of the original members of my Chefs From Hell Club, who was then Executive Chef of Windows on the World, Cellar in the Sky and The World Trade Center Club; Jules Roinnel, the Managing Director of The World Trade Center Club; and a number of others who had been on a trip to Spain with me that spring.


Posted Image
Chef Michael Lomonaco, now Chef-partner at Porterhouse New York.

Ironically, in May of 2001, I had led a group of 26 people from The World Trade Center Club around Spain for eleven days.  The group include Jules Roinnel, the Club's Director and my old friend, Michael Lomonaco, Executive Chef of Windows on the World, Cellar in the Sky and The World Trade Center Club.  Ironically, on that trip, we had gone for lunch one day in Madrid at a great seafood restaurant, La Trainera, on calle Lagasca.  Since the street was too narrow for our bus, the driver double-parked the bus alongside some parked cars on calle Goya across the street from Bar Goya and in front of a BBVA bank branch and we walked a block or so to the restaurant.  After a terrific lunch, at which on old friend of mine, John Ewing, joined the group, we drove back to our hotel and continuing touring Madrid in the afternoon.  

After dinner, some of us decided to have a drink in the Hemingway Bar at the Hotel Palace. John Ewing, who had also joined us for dinner, decided to call it night and took a cab back to his hotel, which coincidentally was the Hotel Lagasca, on the street where we had had lunch.  Within half an hour, Ewing called me on my cell phone and told me, "You won't believe what just happened!  A bomb just exploded and damned near blew me out of bed."The Basque separatist group ETA had planted a bomb in a car parked in front of that BBVA bank branch where our bus was parked during lunch.  

For all we knew the bomb could have been there while our bus was there.  The bomb injured 14 people, destroyed a number of cars and wrecked a number of business along calle Goya, including the Bar Goya, which got destroyed and was where John Ewing had considered stopping for a nightcap, but opted to return to his hotel, go to bed and read a book, a decision that may have saved his life.

The next morning, our World Trade Center Club group was preparing to leave for Ribera del Duero, Burgos and The Basque Country.  The Deputy Security Inspector for The Bridge and Tunnel Authority (in charge of The World Trade Center), had his offices on the 77th Floor of the tower that was home to the World Trade Center Club, Windows on the World, Cellar in the Sky and City Lights Bar.  He stood outside the cargo compartments of the bus and made sure that each bag belonged to its owner and was verified.  Looking back, I have always considered that Basque bomb on calle Goya as a harbinger of things to come.

As Mark Miller, his Coyote Cafe managers and I continued our trip, I checked newspapers at every stop and listened to Spanish radio in the car, but, in the absence of any direct news about my friends, I was almost sure that they had perished.  Then three days later, my daughter, Elena, who had dined with me at Windows on the World in August, called crying about the attacks, but told me that she had seen my friend, Chef Lomonaco, on television.  Michael had survived because he took 15 minutes to have his glasses repaired and did not catch the elevator that would have taken him 110 stories to his kitchens at Windows on the World and to certain death.  

Later I would find out that Jules Roinnel had switched shifts and planned to work that evening.  Mike Nester, the Deputy Inspector who had checked the bags going on the bus in front of the Hotel Ritz in May had had breakfast at The World Trade Center Club and had just reached the 77th floor when the first plane hit.  He was able to get out in time by walking down all those flights of stairs, helping and injured person to get out as well, injuring his neck in the process.  But, of the some 24 people on that Spain trip with me, not a one perished.  Pardon me if I have digressed in reporting about Quique Dacosta's third Michelin star, but I spent one of the most unforgettable days of my life in his restaurant.  

Subsequent meals at Quique Dacosta have fortunately had a much happier outcome, but we seldom see one another for any length of time without recalling that incredible afternoon that we watched unfold on television together.  

(A video trailer on Valencia and Alicante showing Quique Dacosta, Paco Torreblanca and Casa Elías.)
 ____________________________________________________  

About Gerry Dawes 

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. 

He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. 

He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts.
 
video
Gerry Dawes would like to host a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain that features a different star American chef in each episode.  Serious inquiries welcome.

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.

 

2/05/2016

Towering Torreblanca: Alicante's Maestro Paco Torreblanca, One of World's Greatest Chocolatiers & Pastry Chefs (Just visited Paco's Escuela & Plant Again with the CT & NY Chefs on Jan. 17, 2014)


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Feature on Paco Torreblanca in Food Arts Magazine.



Paco Torreblanca in front of the ancient olive tree growing in his Totel chocolate and desserts plant, Monover-Elda, Alicante. 
Photography by Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com / http://www.gerrydawesspain.com

* * * * *

Paco Torreblanca Slideshow, Including the Full Food Arts Article. _________________________________________________________________________________________________


About Gerry Dawes  (Click here on yellow link for)

Dawes Bio, Awards, Quotes from Famous Chefs and Culinarians, etc.  
& Customized Tours of Spain

Contact:  gerrydawes@aol.com
 
Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 

 
video
Trailer for a proposed reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 
The Spanish Artisan Wine Group - Gerry Dawes Selections

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

 Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com
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