On Saturday night, I lived out my fantasy of setting foot in The Food Network Kitchen. No, I am not starring in a spin-off of "America's Worst Cooks."
To gain entry to the hallowed ground, all I had to do was fork over $50 for a good cause -- my kids' school, P.S. 107. The school's Wellness Committee, which is working to improve the school lunch program, held their first-ever cocktail party at The Food Network Kitchen in Chelsea Market.
Lucky guests got the chance to sample an assortment of appetizers created by local chefs from The Farm on Adderley, Egg, Palo Santo and Porchetta.
PS 107 parent Jill Novatt, who has the super-cool title of executive culinary producer at The Food Network, pitched the idea of the party to her boss, who gave her the thumb's up.
The evening wouldn't have happened without PR/event maven and P.S. 107 parent Jane Walsh, who helped secure vendor donations and NBC Universal's Randi Roberts, who helped pull the whole thing together.
Meanwhile, fellow P.S. 107 parents (and friends of mine) Melissa Vaughn, a recipe developer, and Carol Diuguid, an editor at Zagat, helped land the distinguished roster of chefs.
Along with her husband, GQ editor Brendan Vaughan, Melissa is writing "The New Brooklyn Cookbook," a collection of stories, recipes, and resources from Brooklyn's dining revolution (to be published by William Morrow in October 2010). Can't wait to read it!
I started tearing up when I took a bite of the delectable ceviche from Palo Santo.
“I should put up a warning sign on the green mango with pickled habenero,” said Chef Jacques Gautier.
"No problem. I'm crying because it's so good," I told him.
In fact, Gautier's pinto beans sopa with mole de Hongos was my favorite dish of the night.
Egg’s pimento cheese toast was also a big hit.
“It’s a no-lose proposition,” said Egg’s Chef George Weld.
Porchetta, the only Manhattan eatery represented served – what else? – porchetta, plus pizza from sister restaurant Veloce Pizzeria. I asked Porchetta chef Sara Jenkins what I should cook for my first-ever dinner party and she said “Keep it simple. Roast chicken, potatoes, and salad.”
Sounds good to me. Now if only she can come and help me out in the kitchen.