As you saw in one of my earlier posts, I was given the opportunity to partner up with Macy’s Culinary Council and got to cover their event with Marcus Samuelsson in San Rafael. I didn’t know what to expect outside of the fact that he would be there cooking food and that we attendees would also get a chance to eat and drink!
I got there early and got a great spot up close – which was perfect for documenting the event through my Instagram stories (hope you all got a chance to watch)! We were all served drinks while in line, which was great because we ate a lot of good food and needed to quench our thirst! We were served Grape-Ginger Limeade, which was really refreshing! It wasn’t too sweet and it didn’t taste artificial – it was balanced really well.
Throughout the event, Chef Marcus talked to us while he cooked and showed us how he made each of the dishes. It felt like we all came to chill at his house, gathered around the kitchen counter, and he’s having all of these fun conversations for us while we wait to see what he whips up for us next! The conversation shifted from Chopped to lessons he learned from his family to giving back to the community through his restaurant, Red Rooster. He even talked about some of his favorite spots in the Bay, such as Caminos in Oakland, or the Inner Richmond area in SF for its Szechuan cuisines and the Muslim Chinese food in the area. I also really appreciate that he embraces food of all cultures and loves to find those authentic spots wherever he is, versus trying to go every fancy/critically acclaimed restaurant. Some of the attendees seemed to want him to offer up restaurants of Chez Panisse caliber (a lot of the audience was older), but I like that Chef Marcus wants to be adventurous and go to those hole in the wall spots!
We were first served a Squash Salad with Crunchy Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette. This was my favorite of the things we were served – I was sad when I finished my plate. The salad has all of these nutty elements from the almonds and quinoa, sweet and tangy with the Asian pears and feta, to spicy with a hint of Aleppo pepper. Though it seems like a simple dish, it’s so complex with all of the different flavors and textures, but it works so well! I’m so glad they gave us these recipe cards with the full recipes on them! I’m looking forward to recreating this one.
Next we were served his grandmother’s roast chicken with carrots! This was a classic and hearty entree, and loved the strong rosemary flavor. He gave us tips and techniques in how to cook and roast a chicken. Even cooler, was when he started up making a chimichurri for some chicken wings, and told the audience to come up and grab a wing! I wanted to, but I was so full from my roast chicken portion. He even cooked up some eggs right in the pan and scrambled it up with chicken livers. I am not adventurous for that, but the woman next to me really liked it. I like that this really followed through with his message about sustainability and not wasting any food since he was using all of the animal.
We were then served a Cheddar Crusted Apple Pie, which was so good! It was very sweet, but very creamy, which we must owe to the cheese element of the pie. I was so pleasantly surprised by this event, because we were served such generous portions of food from a world-renowned chef – for free essentially! And though I may not make it to Red Rooster in Harlem during my trip to New York, it’s definitely added for the next adventure, because everything tasted SO GOOD and worth the money.
I also got a copy of his Red Rooster cookbook, which was signed to me personally, and a photo too! This was such a great event and opportunity, as I’ve watched Chopped since it premiered, and he’s always been a fantastic and fair judge. It makes me happy to know he’s just as chill and cool in real life! I can’t wait to start exploring the cookbook and the recipes that were given to us.