Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Because my cup runneth over yesterday, I wasn't able to get to all the fun stuff from the Los Angeles Times Celebration of Food & Wine.
Don't get me wrong, there is definitely room for improvement at next year's incarnation of the huge food fest, but more on that later.
First, I wanted to include the below video of Cooking Channel chef Aida Mollenkamp ("Ask Aida," "FoodCrafters"). As an aunt of little kids, she's had to get creative in the kitchen to keep them interested and entertained. Check out what methods she's used.
Now, for some tasty tidbits from Q&A sessions at the LAT Celebration:
* Ree Drummond, food/mom blogger from The Pioneer Woman, said she started blogging in her yoga pants and didn't expect that so many people would start following her. (Definitely interesting from a woman whose book and blog will be turned into a movie, starring Reese Witherspoon!)
* Aarti Sequeira ("Aarti Paarti" / "The Next Food Network Star," Season 6) on her fear of culinary flops: "My husband told me, 'You've made crappy food before, and you'll make crappy food again.' " (Nice.)
* Russ Parsons, Food Editor of the Los Angeles Times, said his 30-year-old daughter first got interested in cooking during college. (Apparently there were Ramen noodles involved.)
* Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen Manager, said she tests about 500 recipes per year. One tip she suggested is grilling Angel Food cake or pound cake, which will bring out the sugar and caramelize it. Serve with fruit and/or ice cream. (Yum!)
* Natasha Case, co-owner of Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck, said food trucks that use social media definitely have their superfans (aka stalkers). One woman, she said, drove all the way from San Diego to Brentwood for a sammie.
* Angela McCluskey, Scottish singer/songwriter and the opening concert act, was awesome. Hilarious and great voice. Reminded me of a Shag drawing.
* She & Him, headline concert featuring Zooey Deschanel, was great, although by that point I was tired and ready to head home. (And no photos allowed. Boo.)
* Proceeds benefited charities Share Our Strength and the Los Angeles Times Family Fund. Awesome.
What I would recommend for next year's festivities:
* Bring sunscreen, water, a bag and hat. (It was super-hot, and there wasn't a lot of shade.)
* More seating. Lots of people were stuck sitting on the ground with loads of food and drink.
* Line control. There were just mobs of people near the end of the evening crowding booths because there was nowhere else to go.
* More clarity about what entrance fee covers. For $55, a lot of people were expecting complimentary bites but instead had to pay for a lot of it. (Wine and liquor for the most part was available in exchange for the drink tickets provided. Some booths stopped bothering with them altogether, which only irritated people who had bought extra tickets.)
Overall, it was a great opportunity to bond with fellow L.A. foodies and to listen to music and sip wine with awesome music on a lazy Labor Day weekend.
And remember: Handstand Kids Cookbooks is still offering L.A. Story readers 20% off with the discount code HSK20 at www.handstandkids.com.
Note: Press pass with drink tickets provided.