The Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show: or Giada 2.0

I apologies, I meant to post this weeks ago…enjoy!

My mother and I went again this year to The  Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show and once again had a blast.  We once again signed up to see Giada and to have our books signed by her.  I am now confessing to something that may shock and/or surprise, but I do not have cable.  Our house is an areal viewing home, so, I have only seen one or two shows of Giada’s and the other special speakers when on vacation or when visiting someone’s home.  Having to choose one of the special speakers to see, I chose Giada again because I enjoyed her show last year.  Next year I think I will branch, not that I wouldn’t love to see Giada again but I think I would enjoy the other special guest chefs just as well.

The Show seemed to have more vendors, much to the detriment of my waistline.  It seemed like every other booth had something to taste.  Everything from spices to main dishes to cakes and cookies.  Even the smaller lectures had food to try.  My mother and I went to two lectures.  One on food baskets and one on olive oil.  The both were informative but the olive oil lecture was great.  The Pierrakos family from Greece, gave a presentation on all aspects of the olive oil industry from a grove such as their family grows to the bottles on the grocery market shelves.  I was unaware that one needs to really look at where the oil comes from.  I mean if the bottle has more than one country it is most likely an inferior oil.  I have to tell you I have always believed that olive oil may be slightly different but after all they do come from olives so are they not more alike?  Isn’t food regulated?  Doesn’t the packaging have to inform you whether the oil has been chemically treated or not?  And doesn’t the “Organic” label mean it is all organic?  Actually the answer is no really when it comes to olive oil.

As long as there has been markets there has been tampering of food.  In our modern world it is no different.  It may not be as pervasive or detrimental to our bodies but if some people can get away with not the highest quality but to a usable one there will always be a someone to take advantage.  We learned that the olive oil one can get at the local market can be anything from high quality to chemically treated.  The oil can be from one grove or one country to a combination of olive oils from several groves and even from several countries.  And the ultimate…”Organic” when pertaining to olive oil does not have to be 100% organic but a majority of it must be.  I was shocked by all this but what really has ruined me, and I am going to feel it in my purse, is to find the taste difference.  The Pierrakos family had us try a generic market olive oil and then try their oil.  What a difference!  I never conceived that the flavour would be so different.  It was also explained to us that even among the high quality oils there is a difference like fine wines.  The Pierrakos family have their the olive grove in Greece intermingled with an orange their grove giving their oil a citrusy flavour.  One can encounter many different earthy flavours from grassy, nutty, to other flavours like the Pierrakos’ citrus.

Between taste testing, we also spent much of the day walking the show room floor and watching the huge screen where we could see and hear the other special guest chefs.  My mom even snuck a picture through the curtain of Guy Fieri.  His show sounded a riot…I think I heard people who attended his show say that he threw spinach balls into the audience…I can’t confirm that since I could not see what he was throwing but he was throwing something.  Paula Deen was the other special guest chef but by the time her show started my mother and I had to get going.  However, after eating at her restaurant this past summer, I bet it was great.

Our day was fantastic and full of surprises.  The biggest surprise for me was while we were at Giada’s show.  She made a roast, squash rigatoni and a chocolate dessert of some sort.  Naughty me did not take notes again, so I apologise for not knowing the exact name of the foods she made, it could be because between listening to her answers of questions, which she is not too shy about, and the surprise that was standing on stage.  There was a young man who was the stage commis.  In the kitchen the commis is the lowest, they are learning from the higher ranking chefs, they are assisting and are usually doing most of the washing up.  I was intrigued by this young man.  You see I thought I knew him.  It was driving me crazy.  Once Giada’s show was over, I decided to walk up to the stage to get a closer look at him and sure enough I knew him.  Actually, he and my son have practically grown up together doing 18th c. re-enacting.  I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years do to High School schedules, so, seeing him on the stage was a joy.  William Moscati, a future chef.  I had no idea that he was so interested in cooking, or that he is going off to cooking school in the fall.  Here we both are sharing the delight of cooking and I look forward to one day saying “oh yes, I know Chef Moscati”.

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment