Discover Fairway – Mitchel and Me Live Cooking Demo & Dinner

There’s no better way to get my attention than to offer me food. So, when I got invited to the “Mitchel and Me” live cooking demo & dinner at the gourmet supermarket chain Fairway, I couldn’t say no. I hadn’t been to a cooking demo since my days as a freelance food writer in Philadelphia, so I was really excited to get back in the game. “Mitchel and Me” consists of Mitchel London (former mayor Ed Koch’s personal chef, who now runs a few food shops in Manhattan, as well as the Fairway Steakhouse restaurant) and Dan Glickberg (4th generation owner of Fairway).

dannyandmitchel

With the demo scheduled for 7PM, I arrived ten minutes early hoping to get a good seat but the room was already packed so I had to settle for a chair in the far right corner of the third row. So if you’re planning on going: get there early! If you don’t score a seat in the center of the front or second row, chances are that you won’t be seeing any of the actual cooking demonstrations. Luckily, with the comedic Laurel & Hardy-style duo Mitchel and Dan, there’s more to the demo than actually learning how to fillet a fish or poach a beet. Dan said it perfectly: “You gotta keep it interesting, right? Otherwise it’s just a cooking show.” And it was certainly more than a cooking show. Although I’m not quite sure a blazé 25 year old like myself was the target audience. Most of the folks attending the demo & dinner were Fairway regulars in their mid 60s who genuinely laughed at the obviously rehearsed deadpan-style comedy schtick.

But I didn’t come for a comedy show, I came for the food. And there were 3 courses of it, accompanied by complimentary wine. The evening’s menu included: poached beets with Greek yogurt and honey; whole roasted Branzino with stuffed tomato provencale; and strawberry shortcake. Like I said, I actually couldn’t see any of the actual cooking, but thankfully I heard almost everything and even learned some pretty helpful tips like: use kosher salt when you’re cooking, and sea salt to top your food when it’s done; and always shake the heavy cream container because a lot of the butter fat (the good stuff) sticks to the bottom.

The demo lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, after which it was time to take our seats at the tables. The transition was a little scattered at first as the waitstaff scrambled to arrange the tables and chairs, but once seated, things got into a slightly less cafeteria-style rhythm. We were given a mouth-wateringly delicious warm bread (naan style), topped with garlic, fresh rosemary and olive oil. And, shortly after, our first course arrived: poached red and golden beats on a bed of Greek milk, drizzled with honey. The appetizer was delicious, but underwhelming in its portion. About 20 minutes later came the fish – one whole roasted Branzino for every guest! The Branzino was tasty, and the tomatoes provencale were a good complement to the fish. The dish also boasted a roasted, caramelized fennel that left me a bit perplexed as it was way too chewy and rough in some parts, and absolutely divine in others. Overall, the main course was a success – not mind-blowing, but enjoyable.

branzino1

Finally, the strawberry shortcake was delicious – save for the biscuit! I found the biscuit to be a bit bland, and frankly too dry. Puff pastry or even spongecake – Mitchel’s own preference – would  have been much better. But the cream and strawberries were lovely.

strawberryshortcake

Ultimately, the tastiest dish was actually the appetizer, especially when dipped into with the warm, garlic & rosemary bread. So if you live in the Fairway neighborhood, or if you’re over 50 and easily amused, then this $40 dinner & demo is absolutely worth every penny.

For more info, or to get the recipes to these dishes, visit www.discoverfairway.com or call 212-595-1888. The next “Mitchel and Me” is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17th and the theme is Summer Barbeque.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 15th, 2009 at 1:38 pm and is filed under Food, New York City Events, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

No Responses to “Discover Fairway – Mitchel and Me Live Cooking Demo & Dinner”

Dennis Hankerson June 2nd, 2009 at 3:09 pm

When is the next cooking demo? I was unable to attend the april and may classes. I’ve all of the others. The classes were fabulous and the meals/wine tasting just excellent. Please keep me informed about the happenings at fairway.

Dennis Hankerson

Termeh Mazhari June 2nd, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Hi Dennis – as noted at the bottom of my post, the next one is on June 17th. You’d have to visit http://www.discoverfairway.com for more up-to-date info!! Have fun!

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