Over the weekend, I did something I’ve never done before: provide 1,000 tastings at a food festival. It was at the inaugural LuckyRice night market, held in Culver City (Los Angeles). I’d attended about a dozen of these ‘walk around’ events filled with booths or stations where chefs and mixologists offer food and beverages. Why not experience it from the other side of the table?
Among the sea of chefs at the event, I was the only person whose primary profession was that of a cookbook author. That meant that I had to finesse things a little. My friend Danielle Chang of LuckyRice said that each participating chef (ahem, that included me) had to do 1,000 tastings. Tastings are not huge portions but you have to make sure that things can be plated up, look nice, and taste good. I didn’t have a professional kitchen crew so I relied on some of my best friends (THX Michelle Esperanza, Alec Mitchell and Victor Fong!) and my husband, Rory. I briefed them before the event and when we were on the ground. Everyone had a job and was ready to pitch in elsewhere.
You also have to have a team that works fast and are people oriented. I spent about a week thinking of a gameplan and for the most part, things went swimmingly well. But there were some frightening, good for reality-TV-show moments too. Here’s a [hopefully] entertaining recap: