Everyone has their own personal wish list of gifts when it comes to holiday time. You know, it’s that list you keep in the back of your mind of gifts you hope your friends and family members will get you. It’s that hope for a gift you’ve wanted that makes the receiving of it even more special and exciting — even if it took a lot of hint dropping.
Food Network celebrity chefs are no different — they too have wish lists that include culinary gadgets, tools and appliances that they’re hoping to get under the tree on Christmas. FN Dish caught up with some of them to find out what’s on their wish lists this year, what kind of gifts they’ve loved receiving in the past, and what items they would give as gifts.
See the celebrity chefs’ wish lists
The FN Dish just caught a culinary demo and book signing for none other than Iron Chef, Cat Cora in Midtown Manhattan. When not doing battle on Iron Chef America, Cat is plenty busy. Aside from nine lives, she appears to have nine jobs as well.
Her recent book, Cooking from the Hip, is a great overview on whipping up creative, tasty offerings from fresh ingredients and staples every stocked pantry should have.
However, Cat caught us up on an even NEWER venture that’s coming this December. She’s opening a new restaurant called CCQ (think BBQ but add a dash of Cat Cora instead). Keywords for Cat here are affordable, flavorful, fast and casual. Time and money are more valuable than ever but why sacrifice taste? She is taking international BBQ inspiration from Asia, South America and the Caribbean to make the CCQ experience unforgettable.
The OC crowd will get first tastes. CCQ will open within the Macy’s at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA. If SoCal isn’t in the cards, FN has the recipe to the CCQ Signature BBQ sauce here that should tide you over.
If that all weren’t enough, Cat is also President and Co-founder of Chefs for Humanity which supplies relief and aid to fight worldwide hunger — created in response to the 2004 Asian Tsunami tragedy. You can learn more here or even donate and get a signed photo of Cat for your kitchen here.
Contrary to popular belief, FN staffers are not treated to mind-blowing tastings and delicious snack breaks daily. We pack lunches or grab take-out like everyone else. However, special occasions sneak up on us and when they do, they are not to be missed.
Food Network recently launched its brand-new magazine (which makes me insanely hungry every time I thumb through it). To celebrate, our test kitchen chefs served up one feature called 50 Toast Toppers. It’s my guess that our diligent cooks actually tackled all 50 but I lost count somewhere around 27.
The spread was bountiful and impressive which triggered a somewhat embarrassing stomach growl when I walked in. The base for each app was a baked round of French bread, brushed with creamy salted butter. Atop each was a tiny explosion of flavor, whether a bite of gorgonzola, fig jam and prosciutto or hummus with olive tapenade. Sweet and savory made appearances as the team served up tender blue crab with wasabi mayo, an addictive Nutella with tangy orange marmalade and butter-sautéed apples with thinly-sliced ham. The formula was only broken with bite-sized versions of Tyler’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie. (the dessert featured on the cover). Silky. Sweet. Tart. Crunchy. YUM!
The spread looked complex for a beginner cook like myself. However, a chef confided to me that prep was actually simple. Apparently, I could knock out these toast toppers without issue (or fire alarm). With the holidays around the corner, I’m looking for easy.
Better yet, they are all featured in a pull-out booklet that can live with your cookbooks. Get details on the new FN magazine here.
And don’t miss when Bruce sits down with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Maile Carpenter, on Monday.