Well, as y’all may recall, this past Saturday I went to see Chef Curtis Stone, the original Take Home Chef, cook and be all dreamy. Hubby, our friend Flower Girl and I headed out early to get a good parking spot. I had no hopes of getting good seating, but the stars, they were aligning. As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself.
We get to the outlet mall, and find a close parking space to the enormous tent. There is no line to purchase the book, so Flower Girl and I make our purchases, and proceed to enter the tent. People are milling about, and there is a KitchenAid™ demonstration going on, as well as several local restaurants and wineries showcasing their wares and providing samples. Between bites of Caprese salad in a wonderful vinaigrette and a few swigs of Riesling, we encountered a photo booth. AWESOME!! My friend and I hurry over to have our photos taken, and because we are the first to try out the Photo Toaster® (yes, that’s the name of it), the videographer asks if he can also take our photos for the event. Sure!! I wore makeup in case I would ever get the chance to get close to Curtis Stone. I can dream.
By this time people are starting to be seated, so we go back in the tent and get seats middle right. After what seemed like forever but in reality was about fifteen minutes, Curtis Stone came onstage.
Didn’t I say he was dreamy?? Anyway, he begins his demonstration by introducing his new cookbook, and then launches into the first featured recipe, which is for a drink called a Bramble (which I have featured here), because after a hard day’s work, everyone should enjoy a bit of a tipple while making dinner! He asks for two volunteers, a guy who looked like Santa and a gal who looked like a young Kate Jackson, and they go up to mix their own versions of his recipe, all the while shaking it to Gangnam Style (my hope of never hearing that song died then). The crowd then chooses the winner based on the “shaking moves”, so of course the gal won. Santa was too dignified to shake his stuff, I imagine.
The next recipe is from the Motivating Mondays section of his new book: Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette. To prove how easy it is to make a nice meal, he asks for a volunteer who is “hopeless in the kitchen”.
And this is where I raised Hubby’s arm, and yell “THIS GUY!!!”
Chef Stone asks if he is really hopeless, to which I replied, “He is allergic to the kitchen”. Apparently that was good enough to get Hubby on stage. Score one for Aggie.
After exchanging pleasantries, Chef Stone puts Hubby to work on slicing the zucchini into strips while he places chicken breasts on the grill. Kindly, Chef Stone’s assistant Tiffany asks Hubby if he would like a drink, to which Hubby begs, “Please!” She hands the drink complete with tall straw, which Hubby promptly tosses off and chugs down the Bramble, causing the audience to break into laughter. Chef Stone then instructs Hubby how to mix the vinaigrette.
Chef Stone: Now take the shallots and stir them into the vinaigrette.
Hubby: The what?
Chef Stone: These right here.
Hubby: Just tell me colors, ok??
Chef Stone: *laughs out loud*
Meanwhile, the chicken breasts are almost done, and we are taught how to test for doneness. Chef Stone goes to poke them and says, “I shouldn’t be touching your breasts.” To which Hubby replied, “You can touch mine all you want, just don’t touch hers,” while pointing at me, causing the audience to once again erupt into laughter, this time at my expense.
Score one for Hubby.
Not to be outdone, Chef Stone gets in on the joke. I am not joking here. By this time I am in tears from laughing so hard. Hubby is a very good sport. Anyway, now it’s time to set up the salad.
Chef Stone: You want to pile it high for a nice visual presentation.
Hubby: *piling the salad, twisting the zucchini strips into curls*
Chef Stone: Wow, looks better than mine.
Hubby: You want to sell your book, don’t you??
Chef Stone: True!
Now it’s time for the chicken. He instructs Hubby to slice them at an angle. Hubby starts to slice, impressing Chef Stone with his technique.
Chef Stone: You do an excellent job with a knife.
Hubby: You don’t want to know what I do for a living.
Chef Stone: Wow, that’s mysterious!
*audience laughs out loud*
Hubby then takes the chicken and spreads it at the base of the salad in a fan-like formation, and Chef Stone congratulates him on a job well done. As a reward, he gives him a plate to share with me, and tells him to come see him after the show so he can give him a gift for me.
Anyway, he came back to his seat, and we scarfed down that salad like there was no tomorrow. It was amazing! I am definitely making it this week. After the show, we got to meet and greet with Chef Stone, since we had been participants. We had our photos taken, and Hubby got a free cookbook, along with some bakeware and kitchen tools.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. Chef Stone was a gracious host, and a wonderful teacher. I am so glad I insisted on going to his demonstration. Afterwards I had the opportunity to go to the Pottery Barn outlet and wouldn’t you know it, they had a Le Creuset™ 4 ½ quart soup pot on major discount and a 40% on top of that!! And with my additional 10% off, I was winning!! And no, this wasn’t even my Mother’s day present!!
The stars did align, and I even got to take home a chef after all 😉