Saturday, May 07, 2011

Cooking Demonstrations: Beefcake and Cupcakes

San Francisco is such a food mecca that there's always a free food demonstration happening somewhere in town. And today I squeezed in two in the span of three hours.

First off it was the weekly Saturday morning demo put on by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) at the Ferry Plaza farmers market. The featured chef was David Bazirgan, executive chef of the Fifth Floor restaurant.

Bazirgan has been getting a lot of buzz with his menu since taking over the venerable restaurant at the Palomar Hotel, but he also got some buzz earlier this year when he was named "Hottest Chef in America" by the readers of the food website Eater (thus the "beefcake" reference in this post's headline). That's right, Bazirgan beat out some formidable opponents in Manhattan and Seattle.

Chef Bazirgan demonstrated an English pea flan, a savory flan that he suggests as an appetizer. Of course, it's a bit fancy (or "cheffy") in the recipe, with crispy duck tongues fried up as toppings along with a carrot foam. The spring colors of pea green and carrot orange do look amazing.

Then it was off to Macy's Union Square for a demonstration featuring Kara Haspel Lind of one of my favorite cupcake bakeries, Kara's Cupcakes. A testament to how popular her cupcakes are, it was standing room only in the cooking demonstration area in Macy's Cellar a half hour before it even began.

Lind, who went to pastry school while working in the publishing industry, is now the owner of a major small business, and it was really interesting listening to how she makes sure every ingredient used in her cupcakes are locally sourced (including the salt) and hand-made.

During the demo, Lind showed how to make a gluten-free chocolate cupcake filled with caramel and topped with ganache and fleur de sel. To make the cupcakes gluten-free, Lind uses brown rice flour. The cupcake is available at her stores.

If you're ever interested in checking out some food demonstrations and maybe meeting the chefs of some of your favorite restaurants, check out the schedules at CUESA, Macy's, and Williams-Sonoma (which also has a decent kitchen demonstration area). You'll learn some chef tips and you'll get some free bites. ;-)


Kim said...

The wedding band severely detracts from his hunkiness.

Single Guy Ben said...

LOL, you noticed that huh? Sorry to burst your bubble!