On Sunday, January 17th, we braved Los Angeles’ rain and chilly wind to attend KCRW’s Good Food Live cooking demonstration and wine tasting at The Paley Center in Beverly Hills. The evening’s occasion fell towards the latter end of G’Day USA: Australia Week 2010–several days of events in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and New York designed to highlight the technological, economical, environmental and cultural growth and advancements of the expansive continent. On January 16th and 17th, the public was encouraged to ‘Come Walkabout in Beverly Hills’. Evan Kleiman, host of Good Food, lead us on an afternoon of food and wine with chefs Curtis Stone and Pete Evans, mixologist Gus McShane and wine connoisseur James Gosper.
Before the Paley Center rooftop opened to the gathering crowd, we were encouraged to view the small exhibitions in the lower level of the building. There was a live kangaroo outside in a hay-filled enclosure, a swaddled baby wallaroo, representatives ready to chat about trips to various parts of the continent and samples of Lamingtons–chocolate covered cakes rolled in coconut. As soon as we were able to make our way upstairs, we ventured to the roof, snagged our ticket for a specialty cocktail and joined the waiting group in front of the demonstration area. Evan Kleiman assisted in the set-up for the first demo with master mixologist Gus McShane from Copa D’oro in Santa Monica. His key ingredient would be passion fruit, which is a native fruit to Australia.
We all received a ticket for one of Gus’ passion fruit and ginger beer cocktails, which was a refreshing and fruity drink with the earthy undertones of gin and ginger beer. It was also not too sweet, which Gus made a point to mention as he is not a fan of sweet drinks. Although it was too cold and rainy to really enjoy a cocktail of this sort, there’s no doubt it would be perfect on a warm, summer night in Australia. Following Gus’ showcase, it was Curtis Stone’s turn to take the stage. He and Evan Kleiman prepared two different lamb dishes. Hers was seared and topped with a pomegranate reduction, and his was a mustard-brushed, herb-covered rack of lamb. Both were perfectly cooked, terribly juicy and seasoned to perfection. (Note: We have nothing but horrible pictures of Curtis Stone. Maybe it’s because everybody aka every woman was trying to get as close to him as possible. You can take guesses as to why!)
Pete Evans, chef and author of Fish, hopped on stage to introduce his dish of the evening. He made a colorful seafood fattoush, which is a Middle Eastern bread and vegetable salad. His unique version capitalized on the abundance of fresh seafood in Australia, so there were sizable chunks of fish tossed amongst the rest of the goods in the bowl. Samples of the salad went around and were greedily gobbled up by onlookers.
James Gosper took the stage to discuss the extensive varieties of wines from Australia. Many people attribute shiraz to Australia, and although they do produce quality shiraz, there are many other wines available. The event touted approximately 30 different wines for the crowd to test, which fell in line with Wine Australia’s Open Up effort–a campaign to encourage more people to taste Australia’s wine offerings. If you are in the Chicago area, there will be a similar wine tasting event sponsored by Wine Australia on January 24th, although unlike the Beverly Hills event, the tasting will not be free.
We have to give a big thank you to Foodbuzz for giving us the opportunity to attend the event as Foodie Correspondents. It was great to see a lot of the KCRW folks from the November pie contest and run around tasting delicious food and several new wines with Esi from Dishing Up Delights. If you want to take a look at more pictures from the event or check out Gus McShane’s passion fruit cocktail recipes, just click your way to the Good Food blog!