That's right my foodies and foodettes, your eyes are not deceiving you. You are indeed seeing me and my dear, dear friend Becky pictured to the left with the one and only Iron Chef Cat Cora.
On Saturday March 28, 2009 Cat Cora graced Orlando with her presence for a tasting and discussion at the Florida Film Festival located in the Enzian Theater. As soon as I read she was coming to town I messaged my partner-in-cooking and told her to get up to Orlando from West Palm Beach because she isn't going to want to miss this! Of course Becky came up (I knew she would), and we tasted four micro-dishes Cat designed and the Enzian chef prepared. While the audience and host Orlando Sentinel Food Editor Heather McPherson asked Cat our deeply burning questions, we were served our appetizers along with complimentary bottled water and Peroni beer. Cat designed for us: Mini Greek Gyros with Garlic Sauce and Spring Greens, Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce and Cornichon, Basque Rubbed Shrimp with Chimichurri Sauce, and Spicy Cinnamon Roasted Pork with Fennel and Citrus Marmalade in Phyllo Cups. While I should be shamed to be so bold as to critique a famed chef's recipes, I personally don't care for fennel so the pork dish was my least fav. The burgers were on the skimpy side with a thin patty and a few sparse leaves of greens, and there was no tzatziki sauce which was a shocking turn-off for a 'Greek' lamb meat dish. Those minor quips side, the Chickpea Fritter was fancy fried fare and I can still taste the fresh heat from the shrimp's dry rub and garlic-heavy chimichurri sauce.
The spices were heavy (just how I like it) and the conversation was candid. For example, when a career US Navy Servicemen asked her advice about opening a restaurant because he loves to cook but has never worked in a restaurant, Cat simply said, "Don't." It doesn't get much more straight-forward than that. Cat Cora presents herself to be a well-rounded, ambitious human who loves her family and her craft. It was a truly inspirational moment in time for both the mind and the palette. Thanks so much to Florida Film Festival for bringing an iron chef to our town for us foodies to slobber over. Oh, and PS - Cat is opening up a new restaurant at Disney pretty soon called Kuzzina so if you missed the tasting you won't miss the whole meal.