Discovering the real job of a top chef, learning a Belgian law about pouring beer, and enjoying a demonstration in the Restaurant Stadium were highlights at the Grill and Chill portion of the All-Star Chef Classic held at LA Live.
The weekend event was held Friday night March 21 to Sunday March 23, 2014 and let attendees a close-up discovery of a five-course French dinner, making a pork sandwich using plenty of mayonnaise, and giving kids an opportunity for a quality cooking experience.
The stadium featured appliances from Fisher & Paykel.
On Saturday evening, adjacent to the stadium, the Grill and Chill hosted 750 diners and featured 10 chefs in the Tasting Arena cooking their creations over open flames plus a bar hosted by Stella Artois.
The Chef as Hunter
Chef Ludo Lefebvre prepared beef, charred broccoi, smoked peanut butter and crispy shallots. He told me his primary job as chef is being a hunter.
"I hunt for the best ingredients. Without them, I can do nothing. Hunting for ingredients is 80 percent of my job. Creativity in cooking is about 20 percent and, of course, you need technique."
Chefs Influenced at Childhood
Chef Ricardo Zarate told me he visited markets in his native Lima, Peru and learned to never throw away anything. His dish was Culito de Pollo and featured tiny chicken tail.
"No one ever uses the tail," he said. "At the market, if I got a rotisserie chicken they would also give me the tail. Using it brings me nice memories. It's a work of sustainability to use something that would normally be thrown away."
Donald Link from New Orleans is author of the cooking book Down South and offered a Mamou Grilled Pork Steak Sandwich. He demonstrated in the evening on the use of white break and mayonnaise and told me southern food doesn't take itself too seriously.
Belgian Law Observed
I asked for a half glass of the Stella Artois but was told that was not possible. "I have to pour a full glass," one of the bartenders told me. "It's Belgian law. A half glass affects the brew." I accepted the full one and enjoyed the craftsmanship in both the drinks and the food.
A Focus on Food and Chefs
Event co-organizer Krissy Lefebvre said the stadium seating of 270 people came from wanting a focus on the food and the chefs. "We created a TV-style set and yet have an intimate look at the chefs."
The result was a few rows of tiered seats around a fully stocked kitchen.
She said the result was having a unique event versus having another food festival. "Many festivals end up with an alcohol focus or it becomes that. With our hands-on cooking class for 60 kids, we kept the focus on the food and the chefs during the weekend."
The lifestyle event is one of many that take place at LA Live. The memories of the evening and the carefully prepared tastes will linger long after the tent and stadium are taken down.
One attendee, Kitty Chan who lives near Fairfax and Third Street in Los Angeles, was positive about her experience. "We attended the Saturday lunch [a five course meal] and I would come here again. How often do you get these amazing chefs together?"
Individual event tickets began at $100.
Check the LA Live website for future lifestyle events.