Les Dames d’Escoffier Celebrating Food Event

A few months ago my friend Olga from Mango & Tomato recommended that I attend the Les Dames d’Escoffier Celebrating Food Event with her. Olga went to a previous one, and raved about it. I was excited to attend, the program offered several sessions about gastronomy. The event took place on March 10th at the Universities at Shady Grove.

I attended these five sessions:
General Session with Sara Moulton
Making Homemade Pasta with Domenicac Marchetti
Ancient Grains for Modern Meals with Maria Speck (more about this session on my next post)
Mexican Cooking: Limitless Possibilities of the Avocado
Phillipine Cuisine with Evelyn Bunoan and Rissa Pagsibigan
I even dropped in at the end of Barton Seaver’s Fish Cookery session, while he was demonstrating how to make caviar from perch roe.

Sarah Moulton was the keynote speaker. I probably was still half asleep when her session started, it was too early in the morning and I had not even finished my first cup of coffee. But as soon as Sarah started speaking I was wide awake and laughing uncontrollably. She is incredibly witty. Her stories of women in the industry, her relationship with Julia Childs, and her time at Food Network were simply mesmerizing.

Then we were off to the cooking sessions. I was most excited about the pasta making session with Domenica Marchetti. I’ve known Domenica from her amazing cookbooks, her blog, and through twitter but had never met her in person. Domenica is so knowledgeable and so nice. I had never made pasta before. I have to be honest here, pasta machines have always intimidated me. Domenica’s pace and clear instructions instantly put me at ease. She made it look so simple and straightforward, and for once I thought: “Ok, I can do this.”

You can find the recipe for Domenica’s egg pasta dough here.

Ingredients for Egg Pasta

The dough, after we mixed it by hand

Pasta after rolling it out

About to start cutting the noodles (photo courtesy of Olga Berman)

Cutting angel hair pasta (photo courtesy of Olga Berman)

Next up was the avocado session with Patricia Jinich. Patricia is so warm, charismatic, and easy going. I found her recipe to be completely unexpected. Who would have thought that a warm avocado soup could be so incredibly delicious!

You can find the recipe at Mango & Tomato.

Ingredients for Avocado Soup with Patricia Jinich

Perfectly Ripe Avocados

Queso Fresco and Feta Cheese

Avocado Soup

At the end of the day, when Olga and I went back to the kitchen to pick up our pasta, we found Barton Seaver’s session had ended, but he was still in the kitchen filleting perch and removing roe sacs. He quickly demonstrated how to make caviar from the sacks. He broke the sac membrane in a bowl filled with cold salted water. Then he proceeded to separate the eggs from the sac. And next thing we knew, there were glistening eggs sitting atop of a paper towel. It was fascinating to watch him do this difficult task with such ease. I wish I had taken pictures of the whole process. But by that time I was so exhausted and still processing all the information from a day’s worth of sessions.

Roe (photo courtesy of Olga Berman)

I had a fabulous time. It was a day packed with information, hands on cooking, food, networking, and friends. I can’t wait for the next one. I definitely recommend attending.

Celebrating Food takes place every two years in Washington, DC. For more information about Les Dames d’Escoffier Events visit their website.

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