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If you have been following along with me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you've seen all the amazing food, presentations, and people I've experienced at StarChefs 2018. I want to add a little more context, and put some of my favorite experiences here on the blog. If you are a chef, or an adventurous home cook, StarChefs should definitely be on your "must attend" list. It's just a fascinating conference and I've been lucky to cover it for a few years.
Jesse Vida and Junghyun Park from Atomix kicked off the conference for me with a great demo combining a cocktail and food pairing.
The cocktail was a complex blend with tart, sweet, and effervescent notes.
We kicked off the food portion with a soy sauce tasting.
Then moved on to a discussion of how to marinate salmon with kelp and soy sauce.
The final dish was an amazing blend of sweet, salty, smooth and crunchy.
The session with Bonnie Morales from Kachka was fascinating. I knew almost nothing about caviar going in.
Not only did we get to taste 5 different types of caviar from Sturia, including in a few dishes...
But we also got to clean the roe out of a salmon. It was one of the most interesting things I've ever seen!
It was fascinating to learn from Martin Kastner from Crucial Detail and Philip Tessier from Chasing Bocuse about what goes into actually competing for the Bocuse d'Or.
From the incredible amount of preparation and testing that went into the food, to the custom tools, molds, and serving dishes that Crucial Detail created, it was just a masterclass in how you can accomplish anything if you get really smart, driven people, working on the problem.
I always enjoy listening to Abe Conlon from Fat Rice speak. And for this main stage demonstration he brought his Macanese mentor, Marina Senna-Frenandes.
They did a great job covering some of Abe's journey, as well as the history and background of Macanese cuisine. Plus there was food to taste!
Michael Gulotta from Maypop in New Orleans showed us his version of a Canjun Boudin Bao.
We took them from start to finish. Rolling them out, making the filling, filling them, steaming them, and finally frying them.
Elliot Strathmann from Spuntino and Max Green from Amor Y Amargo put on a great presentation.
We started with a tasting of 6 amaros, including 2 house made ones from Spuntino.
Then we moved into making our own amaro to take home. I shared it with friends for several months and everyone loved it.
Brian Voltaggio from Volt made an amazing multi-technique dish.
I mean, he had me at "liquid nitrogen freezed merenge".
It was one of the most fascinating presentations I've ever seen, and the final dish was amazing!
Ray Garcia, Broken Spanish gave us an amazing hands-on demo on making tamales.
I was unsure just what went into making it, so it was fascinating to learn about the process of making masa, the unique cheese he uses, and the incredibly flavorful braised filling.
Plus, the end tamales were amazing!
My final experience was an remarkable 3-course meal and wine tasting provided Michael Fojtasekby from Olamaie in Austin Texas and sponsored by Steelite.
It also had several sous vide and modernist components in it, so it was fun to pick Michael's brain about how he approaches the various dishes.
As I said, StarChefs is an amazing conference for chefs or adventurous home cooks. Be sure to check it out and attend if you can! There was a lot more content I got to enjoy and I posted most of it to my social media accounts, so be sure to follow along there next year!