Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a Macy’s Culinary Council cooking demonstration right here in New Orleans. After the event, my loving husband says, “Why don’t you go share with the Chefs your recipe for ice.” Yep. That about sums it up. Me at a cooking demo? Believe it or not, I have gotten much better in the kitchen in the last seven months since being laid off from my job. Partly from necessity (eating out is no longer in my budget) and partly because I have the time. But you know what? I am enjoying it.
I was very excited about attending the cooking demonstration and arrived with hopes of learning a few tricks and tips. I was not disappointed. Macy’s’ Culinary Council, which is comprised of a variety of the most well-known chefs in the cooking industry, has been hosting a nationwide tour in various Macy’s kitchens around the country. Launched in 2003, the Council serves to inspire the way Macy’s customers shop, cook and eat at home while providing expert culinary advice with the aim of teaching customers how to cook and shop like a master chef. Here in New Orleans, we were treated to a class instructed by chefs Nancy Silverton and Johnny Iuzzini.
Both chefs were friendly, knowledgeable and quite entertaining. Chef Nancy started by showing us how to prepare your own salad dressing. If I had any idea it was that simple, I would not have been buying bottled dressings all this time! A few tips (in my own, non-chef words):
- Do not store your olive oil in a clear container. It breaks down faster that way. Find a dark bottle for storage.
- Pair your salad dressing to your salad. Not every dressing should be offered with one salad…they just don’t go!
- When using a head lettuce, massage the dressing into the leaves, otherwise you will just get the outside coated leaving nothing for the middle section.
- When you have a recipe with very few ingredients, use only the best!
- Pine nuts go rancid quickly. Who knew?
- Always salt your greens before beginning to build your salad.
- When building a salad, you should not throw greens in a bowl and add toppings. You want to get some of each ingredient into every bite.
Next, Chef Johnny Iuzzini (who is definitely not hard on the eyes), created two delicious desserts including a Pineapple-Polenta Cake with a Pineapple-Spice Sauce and a Chocolate Pudding with Devils Food Cake, Soft Cream and Candied Rose Petals. I have never eaten rose petals before, but they were quite tasty! Here are a few tips from Johnny:
- When making a cake, use cold butter and room temperature eggs
- Mayo can be used as an ingredient to keep the cake moist due to it’s oil content
- Mix a powder (like flour) with a granular (like sugar)
- To ensure your pudding doesn’t get a “skin”, cover immediately with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
I truly enjoyed the cooking demo. Check out your local Macy’s to see if the Culinary Council is coming to a store near you and don’t miss any of the action by following the Culinary Council on Twitter, too!
2 thoughts on “Gaining Confidence in the Kitchen with Macy’s Culinary Council”
great tips, what is the salt your greens thing? Does that mean there is hidden salt in salad?
Ellen, the Chef put greens in a bowl (like spinach, kale or lettuce) and tossed with a pinch of salt before building her salad