What might be a good way to sell cars and keep people entertained for three hours? How about partnering an automobile company up with a well known food and drink magazine, allowing them to showcase both of their strengths: beautiful cars and delicious items? Well, that is exactly what Buick and Food & Wine magazine did.
The automotive giant partnered with the popular magazine to offer guests an exclusive culinary event and to promote their new 2012 lineup. Guests were lucky enough to watch live cooking demonstrations, indulge in the finishing results, and test drive a few vehicles. Celebrity Chef Michael Psilakis was the headliner of the weekend, while Food & Wine’s Best New Chef 2007 Gavin Kaysen, Discovery’s Planet Green Network “Future Foods” Co-Host Chef Ben Roche, and wine expert Michael Green offered exceptional presentations and tasty take-aways.
The three hour event was seamlessly executed, with guests being placed into three small groups that traveled with a Buick representative to three “modules” and other areas. Before going with our groups however, we were delighted with a breakfast during registration and welcome speech. Food & Wine magazines were generously placed on various shelves for taking. Chef Psilakis was also present during this time and I was quite startled, perhaps “star struck” by his presence. He politely took a picture with me and conversed with other people. It was great to see how he took time to appear for guests before his scheduled “debut.”
My first group’s module was the test drive. Here we were presented with information about the 2012 Buick lineup including the Regal, Lacrosse, and Enclave. Test driving was fun as we were able to hop into any car we liked and take it for a spin.
Module two was with Chef Kaysen, where he delighted us with some background on himself and experience in the industry. The dish he explained and prepared for us was a Maine Peekytoe Crab with orange & pepper gelee, shaved fennel and tangerine-vanilla vinaigrette. Wow, quite a title and quite a bite! The crab was light and fresh, while the gelee topping provided a nice richness to the plate.
Module three was definitely an experience. Pastry Chef Roche used liquid nitrogen to instantly make bacon, maple syrup and sage ice cream for us. He discussed how he uses the liquid nitrogen to make different types of ice cream since it allows for a quick freezing process and encouraged us to experiment with it at home! Obviously, with precautions taken, he explained how to “treat it like fire” and order some if we could. He then presented us with an outstanding S’mores Bomb. Each little truffle-lookalike was encased in dark chocolate and filled with a liquid graham cracker puree. The one- biter was one to be remembered.
Wine tasting was next for us with Michael Green. He was a great entertainer and teacher! His humorous personality and vast knowledge of wine made for a whirlwind of thirty minutes. He educated guests with what he called a “Fast Track to Wine Expertise.” Case and point: Five things that contribute to wine tasting differently: 1. Grape 2. Region 3. Soil 4. Weather 5. Wine-making. Six S’s of wine tasting: 1. See 2. Swirl 3. Smell 4. Sip 5. Swish 6. Spit. These lessons, among others, were paired with two delicious wines to taste. One was a 2010 Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc and the other was a 2009 M. Chapoutier Cotes-Du-Rhone Belleruche Rouge. Both drastically different yet definitely delicious!
Michael Psilakis’s demonstration finished the session for us. Not only an exceptional chef as I have come to know, but a wonderful presenter as well. His “plant a seed” themed intro was moving and poignant. He spoke of his childhood, upbringing, family relationships, career choices, almost in a story-like fashion. One of his main goals he mentioned was to show the culinary world that Greek food should be taken seriously. After eating, or rather devouring, the fried meatball he cooked for us, I see why he is so passionate about promoting Greek cuisine. A meatball you might consider Italian, I know. What you don’t know is how he plated the appetizer… In a sauce including simmered tomatoes, black and green olives, garlic confit, then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It was scrumptiously moist, attributable to the Wonder Bread in the mix, texturally sound, being both fried and braised, and well balanced. Not to mention, it was gone after 10 seconds! In the end though, he not only gave us kitchen tips and ideas, he encouraged us to follow what we love and realize the “power and beauty of food.” And of course, how could I forget, thanks to Buick he signed and gave each one of us a copy of his cookbook, How to Roast a Lamb.
So all in all, it was a tremendous three hour adventure. Buick and Food & Wine came together with precision and really did a great job offering us culinary and automotive discoveries. In addition, for every guest, Buick will be making a donation to The FEED Foundation, in support of their efforts to create good products to help the world’s hungry. Quite a day if you ask me!
Gina Glazier is a born and raised Jersey Girl. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy and currently teaches 5th grade. Gina lives with her husband Matt who is her number one fan and shares in her passion for the culinary arts, minus the cooking part! Her “culinary life” became a reality a few years back when she was chosen to be a guest of The Star Ledger’s Munchmobile. This ignited Gina’s desire to be around food and all its counterparts all the time, meaning restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows, cooking, etc. Gina says her “biggest and most monumental experience” was being a part of The Star Ledger’s Pizza Patrol two years ago where she traveled the entire state, eating at 3, 4, sometimes 5 pizzerias a night for just about 6 months! You can check out her Hungry Teacher adventures, on her blog www.ahungryteacher.blogspot.com.