Sunday, April 19, 2009

Best ever foodie Saturday night

Last night I got to let my food geek run wild. I was a volunteer along with a friend at a charity benefit for a local adoption agency. (The Cradle in Evanston, IL. Go check 'em out) It was held at a local appliance store, though that is a misnomer. Abt in Glenview is my fantasy land. They have room after room of electronics, appliances, and kitchenware. There are little nooks along one wall that each house a different kitchen set up with various cabinets, counter tops, and appliances. The nooks were each taken up with a local restaurant, caterer, or pastry shop.
I, along with my friend and a few other people, was assigned as an assistant. One of us in each kitchen. I hit the jackpot. I was assigned to work with Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, also known as The Hearty Boys. Just in case you aren't addicted to the Food Channel like I am, these guys were the winners of the first season of The Next Food Network Star.
Let me just start by saying that these guys are just so genuine, gracious, and nice. Oh, and the food they prepared was amazing. They made two appetizers for the crowd. I'd never eaten raw fish. Ever. Dan made Ahi Poke Rolls. For Steve, I tried it. And it was good. Really good. It was sweet and spicy and creamy and there was a little hint of salt. Really good. The other appetizer they served was a Chicken Satay Skewer. These were so good with a creamy peanut sauce and black sesame seeds and just a little green onion.
The crowd was equally wowed. Dan and Steve did a cooking demo of their two treats. And they left me alone at the station. I got to skewer and garnish the chicken and plate and garnish the Ahi. I know. I'm a dork. But here are these guys who are nationally known for their food, and they left me in charge of it! Good thing it was pretty foolproof. The crowd couldn't get enough of it.
They both humored me and smiled when we talked about baking and cooking. I left last night with two big hugs and an autographed cookbook. (Yes, another cookbook) Steve suggested that I start with the cocktails. I think I'll do just that. It's an amazing looking book. If you'd ever like to cook along, just let me know. Hearty Boys Monday anyone?
If you're in Chicago on a Sunday, go check out the brunch. The friend who volunteered with me and I are already planning our visit.


Megan said...

Ha! How cool for you! So when are you auditioning for the next Food Network Star?

Kayte said...

Oh, lucky you...I just loved their show on Food Network, and was very disappointed when they were on no more. They had nice, workable, accessible recipes that always worked. Did you make anything out of the cookbook yet? I really should get that one.

TourGuideJenn said...

I'm jealous! I really enjoyed their show, and some of their recipes are faithful standbys I make all the time. What a great time you must have had! Thanks for sharing!!