Austin Food & Wine Festival

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I just experienced the first edition of the Austin’s Food & Wine Festival under the umbrella of the FOOD & WINE Magazine.

Up to this point our festival has been called the Texas Hill Country Food and Wine Festival. Much smaller scale, lesser known talent, but still fun.

This year we hit the big time in the food and wine world; chefs like Masaharu Morimoto, Tim Love, Marcus Samuelsson, Andrew Zimmern, Michelle Bernstein, and Gail Simmons to name drop just a little.

Since there is too much to put in a single post, I will break this up over a few.

So first things first:

Tim Love had a hands on grilling demonstration for 200!

There were 100 tables, with two people at each table. There was a Weber charcoal grill between each table to be shared by the two people closest to the grill, so the person on the left side of the table used the grill to their left, right side – right grill. There was also one ice chest for each table containing a bottle of white wine, meat for grilling, waters, broccolinni, lemons and various other accoutrements.

Each participant received an apron, towels, cutting board, a knife, tongs, a basting brush, a meat thermometer, and an assortment of seasonings.

During the demo Chef Love talked you through how to season and properly grill two different types of meat: one being skirt steak and one being a New York Strip. He also shared the proper way to hold a knife and the correct direction to cut the meat.

Then all of the sudden, during the demo, he would call for tequila shots for everybody. It was hilarious! And before and after each shot he would stress NOT to touch the sides of the grill or the fire because they were HOT. Really!

So the participants are grilling meat, drinking wine and taking shots of tequila for the whole 1 1/2 hr. demo. By the time they were done, they didn’t care how the steak turned out! But it was obvious every participant and spectator enjoyed themselves thoroughly!

A couple of the things I learned from him about grilling were 1) after you season your steak the way you think you should, then season it again. Most people under-season the meat they are grilling; 2) after you cook your meat most of the way, taking it off the grill to rest for at least 10 minutes. Then put it back in the grill on the top rack to reheat it. While it is reheating, it will finish the cooking, like in an oven, with the grill lid closed.

BTW – always grill with the lid closed, that’s how you get the smokey flavor and intense heat. And speaking of… there was some serious smoking going on! At one point, the air was so thick with smoke, you could hardly see Chef Tim on the stage!

This was a very impressive undertaking to say the least! This was supposedly the largest hands-on demo ever! I believe it!

Tim Love conducted one of these demos at the beginning of each morning. On day two during his session, he was visited by different celebrity chefs that were between shows. First Masaharu Morimoto came to the stage with cowboy hat in hand. Chef Love got him to sing to the crowd. Chef Morimoto said he was singing a Japanese fishing song. It sounded like the same song he sang in his demo… curious. Then Chef Morimoto went off to possibly serenade other audiences.

Next Marcus Samuelsson showed up. Chef Love commented how Chef Samuelsson was the best dressed chef around. He was sporting plaid pants, white button down, one of his orange restaurant jerseys over the button down that had his name on the back, and topped off the emsemble, literally, with a fedora.

As he was chatting with the crowd, Andrew Zimmern shows up. So the three of them start entertaining. It became blatently obvious that Zimmern’s personality loves the stage. Chef Samuelsson wasn’t as boisterous, but the three chefs were entertaining together, which added a special touch to such a unique event.

Needless to say, if you are a foodie, a Food Network fanatic, or just love attending events like the Austin Food & Wine Festival you would have totally enjoyed this impromptu performance.
I know I’m not the only one out there that truly loves the food world. Food gives us a creative outlet that touches our lives, our homes and our world. From the farm, to the market, to the pan, to the plate, to the smile on people’s faces, food is the one consistent element that sustains life, shares love, and provides a connection to our earth and our Universe.
Stop the fast food and start being an active part of what you eat! Amen!
Until next time,
Eat on Purpose!
admin posted at 2012-4-30 Category: Uncategorized

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