Friday, January 20, 2012

Buick Discovery Tour - January 2012: Chef Ming Tsai

I recently attended the Buick Discovery Tour event which was sponsored by Buick and Food & Wine and it was hosted at the St. Regis Monarch Resort in Dana Point, CA. The were several vendors in attendance, such as Buick, Pastry Chef Ben Roche, Chef Josiah Citrin, wine aficionado Michael Green and Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai. For foodies or food fans, the Buick Discovery Tour is the event to visit where you get to learn and hear from many chefs while learning about Buick and its vehicles. This is a culinary rock concert meets luxury car show. It also helps that the tour is always hosted at beautiful locations. The Buick Discovery Tour is currently visiting several U.S. cities with the following at: SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, California with Chef Michael Psilakis on January 21 & 22, 2012; Stratta at Montelucia Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona with Chef Ming Tsai on January 28 & 29, 2012; and Westin Beach Resort Spa in Fort Lauderdale in Miami, Florida with Chef Michael Psilakis on February 18 & 19, 2012. For every guest that attends this event, Buick donates proceeds to the Feed Foundation.

Ben Roche is a pastry chef at Moto restaurant in Chicago, IL and co-host of the series ‘Future Food’ on Discovery’s Planet Green network. Chef Roche was also known as the most innovative pastry with a bit of a mad scientist. He prepared for us "walnut and blue cheese" ice cream and chocolate malt balls. Walnuts and blue cheese sounded like very strange flavors for ice cream, but this flavor combination really went well together and the ice cream was very flavorful. During his demonstration, he used liquid nitogen to prepare the ice cream for us which was very entertaining and a joy to watch.

Many attendees had a chance to view several Buick models as well as test drive the Buick vehicles. Some of the models that were on display were the Enclave, Regal, Lacross, and Encore. I didn't do the test drive as I was actually interested in photographing and learning more about the vehicles on displays, although I didn't get to view all the models that were there on display. All the vehicles were really beautiful and it was great learning about them.
Chef Josiah Citrin is the executive chef and owner at Mélisse Restaurant in Santa Monica, CA where he specializes in French Cuisine. At the event, he prepared for us "hokkaido sallop with lime, basil and prawn salt over cauliflower mousse". It was a beautiful display and very flavorful. I particularly enjoyed the cauliflower mouse.
Michael Green is a wine aficionado and is always informative, and entertaining when he attends these events. At this event, he explained the history of the two wine that were in front of us.

Please excuse me for being ignorant while I'm not a wine drinker. The lemon slice, crackers and cheese were paired up with the white wine and red wine for a great taste.
Best of all, Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai gave a great cooking demonstration at the end of the event. I have seen Chef Ming on "The Next Iron Chef" as well as making a guest appearance on "Top Chef", but he was very entertaining and more delightful to watch in person! He prepared "chicken and tri-bell pepper chow mein" for us at this event.

At the end of his presentation, many attendees got to take a photo with Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai as well as get an autograph copy of his book, "Simply Ming: One Pot Meals". In case you missed this event in your city or your city never got a visit from the Buick Discovery Tour and you are a fan of Chef Ming Tsai, he is also a chef for the Macy's Culinary Council where he may still have a chance to visit your area for a cooking demonstration.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Macy's Culinary Council Chef Marcus Samuelsson - 2011

After dining at Macy's "Kitchen Signature", I went over to the store's kitchen department, located right next to the restaurant, where Chef Marcus Samuelsson's cooking demonstration would be. Chef Marcus prepares American cuisines with influences from Sweden and Ethiopia.

I saw Chef Marcus put on another cooking demonstration for the Buick Regal Discovery Tour in December 2010. I enjoyed the event at that time, and as usual, he put on a wonderful demo and was happy to take photos with his fans afterwards. He was always friendly and professional in real life.

During this recent demonstration, everyone in the audience got to taste a sample of what he prepared. He prepared for us "ripped pork", "boiled fingerling potatoes with roe vinaigrette" and "pickled cabbage". I didn't care much for the pickled cabbage, but enjoyed the other items that were prepared for us.

Ripped Pork

Boiled Fingerling Potatoes with Salmon Roe Vinaigrette

Pickled Cabbage

Signature Kitchen at South Coast Plaza's Macy

Last month, I visited Macy at the South Coast Plaze in Costa Mesa, CA for Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson's cooking demonstration. Because I got there early before the demonstration, I decided to try something at the store's restaurant, Signature Kitchen. I was very surprised that a department store had an in-store restaurant and this was the first time I saw one! It seemed that this restaurant served many signature dishes by various celebrity chefs like Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Cheft Cat Cora, and Nancy Silverton. From my understanding on yelp, this was a three in one type of restaurant.

The customer services overall was ok, just average. The staff was friendly, but I hadn't noticed them serve the food faster than other eating establishments. I didn't like how there were no areas for trash after you finish dining there and I didn't like leaving a messy table with an empty basket and used napkins on it, but I didn't have a choice. If there were trash areas here, it wasn't clear or obvious and I didn't see them.

I ordered the turkey burger with garlic fries and bottled water. The burger and fries also came with free condiments. I actually didn't care for the condiments. The burger was well-seasoned and I enjoyed every bite into the burger! While I did actually enjoy the garlic fries, I think I had better elswhere.

My overall dining experience here was ok, so I would probably come back to try some other items on the menu.