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While there’s hardly a replica for the kind of pressure Iron Chefs feel when sprinting around Kitchen Stadium during battle, Iron Chef Marc Forgione and Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla cranked up the heat in the makeshift kitchen during last night’s Barilla Interactive Dinner when they tasked partygoers to prepare dinner for their tables. The duo welcomed a sold-out crowd to The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fla., for an elegant but relaxed meal as part of the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but it was only after guests arrived that the all-star chefs revealed to them the multicourse menu they would be cooking.
Outfitted with aprons and chef’s hats, and with pre-prepped ingredients at the ready, seemingly novice and experienced amateur chefs alike manned the saute pans and took charge of dinner, but lucky for them, help wasn’t far away should they need it. Chef Boni led the crowd with detailed suggestions for creating the pasta course, a richly decadent cheese tortellini with morel mushrooms, Marsala wine and prosciutto, while the Iron Chef tackled the entree.
Before he offered step-by-step guidance for tackling a traditionally daunting dish — lobster — Marc boosted the confidence in the room by beginning what he deemed the “slow clap.” Soon the crowd joined in with claps and chants, and fans were ultimately ready to begin work on something many may not have ever made before: lobster.
“I think the reason that people get intimidated by lobster is ’cause how expensive it is and you don’t want to, like, mess it up,” Marc said of the indulgent seafood. “At the end of the day, it’s food. Just relax. Have fun with it.” With friendly patience and simple tips, however, he proved that lobster is indeed home cook-friendly, and he guided guests through the how-tos of replicating his beloved recipe for Chili Lobster. After mere minutes of cooking, each table was awarded with not only a bowl of succulent lobster bathing in a spicy, smooth sauce, but also a fork-tender rib eye to complete the surf-and-turf pairing.
What comes after dinner, of course, is dessert, and just as the steaks were an already prepared treat, so, too, were Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles. As a reward for fans’ efforts last night, Biltmore chefs claimed the final course their own and wowed fans with these ready-to-eat sweets.