The event featured a lot of featured guests including Amanda Rockman of South Congress Hotel, Drew Curren (owner of Easy Tiger, Irene’s, 24 Diner, Italic), Michael Symon, my favorite food blogger Jane Ko, and Rachel Holtin of AustinFoodstagram.
We were given a mason jar for filling with tea of our creation at the tea bar, which included a wide selection of fresh fruit, and three different kinds of Lipton tea for us to create our own perfect tea. This was super adorable and a perfect start to the evening.
Jane and Rachel were giving demonstrations about how to take food photos for social media, and Amanda and Drew had stations set up with a couple apps for us to try. Pictured above are Drew’s apps, a braised lamb over white beans and a roasted mushroom / goat cheese crostini. The lamb was tender and juicy, and the beans really brought all of the flavors of the fresh herbs together.
Of course priority was to meet Jane and thank her for the tickets. She was kind enough to allow for a photo, and she taught us a couple things about really making use of your camera, lighting, and editing for the perfect food photo. I learned a lot, even from just that ten minute demonstration, and it was really awesome to see her in her element.
Hmm, should have worn shoes with some height. Nonetheless, one of my favorite photos of the year.
Not only did I get to eat some delicious food but I was given an Antioxidant, a Lipton Tea based alcoholic drink that was absolutely delicious, so much so that I am considering buying the ingredients to make it myself at home. It was light, not too heavy on the juice or alcohol, and had a very fresh, healthy taste.
The dinner portion of the evening was outstanding. Chef Symon showed us his recipe for his famous porchetta, a zesty pork shoulder served with soft polenta. After his demonstration, the panel was asked some intriguing questions under the theme of “Mealtime moments.” It was very inspiring to hear their stories and the history of their favorite dishes.
I was especially surprised to hear that Chef Symon’s wife is vegan. He said this challenges his cooking to come up with more creative ways to add flavor to dishes. I found this to be really inspiring – that even though his wife doesn’t eat porchetta, which he talks so passionately about, they can still bond over his passion in other ways.
By the time it was dessert, I was so full I didn’t think I would have room. But just looking at how appetizing these desserts were, I had to dig in. The lemon meringue tart by Amanda Rockman was a delicious, tart dessert that was so light on the sweetness that it surprised me. My favorite dessert was the pecan praline bar – it was soft, chewy, and crunchy all at once and had a great praline flavor.
I am insanely thankful for opportunities like these, especially when I can share them with my closest friends. I ate well, drank well, and was able to meet one of my biggest inspirations. Not a bad night at all!