Are you adventurous when it comes to your food?
After being the chief cook in our household for over 31 years, I'm not going to lie: it can get very mundane and boring trying to come up with new meal ideas. That is why I always jump at a chance to learn about some new techniques, ingredients, or appliances to shake up the usual routine. And when I can learn all this and more from a professional chef who also happens to be a celebrity, all the more reason to branch out and get a little adventurous with my cooking.
One way to get some expert advice is through Macy's Culinary Council. This council is made up of 14 amazing, expert chefs traveling around the country to various Macy's stores, sharing their recipes and tips that anyone can try at home.
Recently, I attended one of the Culinary Council's events featuring award winning chef Marcus Samuelsson at the Macy's located at South Coast Plaza in Southern California. Marcus is also known as a television star/judge on the hit reality show, Chopped; restaurant owner including the famous Red Rooster Harlem; philanthropist; web site founder of Food Republic.com, a site for men who want to eat and drink well, and live smart; and a cookbook author. Wow -- he has some fascinating credentials!!! Born and raised in Sweden, Marcus was inspired by his grandmother's cooking in becoming a chef.
On this particular evening, Marcus was celebrating Black History Month by demonstrating three unique dishes. Marcus related that there is no better way to get to know a culture than by its food. I watched as Marcus make and then let us sample his Dirty Rice Shrimp, a West African dish:
Coconut Fried Chicken with Collard and Gravy:
And a New Orleans favorite, Catfish and Grits:
My favorite? The fried chicken and collards and gravy. While it had a familiar taste, his version was comfort food done a tad differently with delicious results. Combining the collard greens with bok choy and bacon was really yummy and had a palatable texture that I wasn't accustomed to. I'm anxious to try it with my family.
Throughout the evening, Marcus stressed that whenever you make a meal, it should be planned with leftovers in mind because food improves in flavor a day or two after it is cooked. I need to convince my husband of that because he insists that leftovers are a poor substitute for freshly made. Marcus said that rice and stew are some dishes that actually taste better the next day.
After he was done cooking, Marcus came out from behind the stove and answered whatever questions everyone had. I especially liked it when he told of where to get some of the unusual ingredients and what ingredients you could substitute if someone in your family wasn't fond of something in the original recipe. Another highlight? Seeing what kind of shoes a famous chef chooses when he is on his feet for hours at a time in the kitchen. Marcus has cooking AND fashion flare!!!
I highly recommend Macy's Culinary Council experience. It is free; all you have to do is reserve your spot. Besides getting a cooking lesson and having an opportunity to learn from a famous chef, Macy's also includes special promotions. On this night, if you purchased $35 in the home department the day of the event, you also got a $10 Macy's gift card and a copy of the Culinary Council's Thanksgiving and Holiday Cookbook that Marcus personally autographed. A great adventure indeed to changing up your regular routine!!!
Have you done something to change up your meal making lately?
I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy's Culinary Council. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.