Boston Wine Expo Cooking Demonstrations

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | February 16th, 2010 | Chef Interviews

When you’re a member of the media, you are allowed to enter the expo at 11:00 am.  You are able to visit more wineries and sample more wines in those first two hours before the general public enters.  As the expo becomes filled, you still can sample and chat, but it’s louder and pretty crowded.  So, this year we tried a different strategy.

First, we visited all of the wineries that were of interest to us.  Second, we visited food vendors of interest to us.  Third, we went to the cooking demonstrations at the Boston Globe stage.  Fourth, we stayed there.

We didn’t plan on staying for all five demonstrations.  But as we were being served delicious samples of food and wine and it was really crowded in the aisles of the expo, we decided we would stay where we were.  What a great decision that was!

The first demonstration was by Josh Ziskin, chef and owner of La Morra Restaurant in Brookline.  Chef Ziskin prepared an amazing Pork Tenderloin.  Coated in an assortment of fresh herbs, this dish was tender and flavorful.  The combination of chervil, sage, rosemary, and thyme gave an earthy taste to the pork.

The second was provided by Richard Rayment of the Seaport Hotel and Seaport World Trade Center.  Mr. Rayment created a wonderful dish that consisted of Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pudding.  The short ribs were incredibly tender, and the bread pudding was phenomenal.  I have made and eaten several dessert variations of bread pudding, but never before have I had savory.  What a treat for my palate!

Mark Goldberg, executive chef of Woodward, was our third presenter.  For his dish, he served Steamed Mussels with Preserved Lemon, Pickled Garlic, and White Wine.  Chef Goldberg gave a very thorough lesson, showing the audience how to prepare all parts of this recipe:  lemon, garlic, and mussels.  While mussels are not my favorite type of seafood, the combination of tart lemon and salty garlic gave the mussels a fabulous flavor.  My companion found them to be exceedingly delicious and graciously finished half of my serving.

For our fourth demonstration, we were treated to the cooking talents of Jamie Bissonette, executive chef and partner at Coppa.  For this segment, we were treated to some more oysters, served as Ostrica con Prosecco.  These oysters were served raw, having marinated in a combination of Prosecco, cranberries, and vinegar.  Topped with a cranberry verjus, grated apple, chives, pickled mustard seed, and sea salt, they were tender and had a wide assortment of flavors:  sweet from the oysters, tangy from the vinegar and cranberries, savory from the salt and mustard seed. Again, my partner enjoyed half of my serving.

Our final cooking demonstration of the day was courtesy of Jeremy Sewall, executive chef at Eastern Standard.  Rounding out our afternoon with a traditional New England dish with quite a bit of flair, he prepared Maine Lobster with Ricotta Gnocchi and Meyer Lemon.  The gnocchi were delicious and had a wonderful extra bit of flavor, courtesy of the lobster roe that was added to the dough.  Served with a meyer lemon sauce and a hefty garnish of lobster meat, this dish was hearty, tasty, and the perfect end to our afternoon.

For next year’s expo, I plan to attend an afternoon’s worth of cooking demonstrations.  However, I will skip breakfast next year, so I am able to sample all dishes fully!

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