I'm back from my sabbatical and ready to share the details of the my wonderful trip to Irvine, California to the Thermador Experience with Traditional Home Magazine in celebration of the Great Kitchens Online Issue. It was a fun, yet educational experience. I can't wait to share the fun events as well as the wealth of information I learned about the Thermador products, but for now, let's focus on what I learned from the Thermador professional chefs, Chris Phipps and Kyle Jacobi. These two amazing chefs are responsible for everything that happens in the Thermador test kitchens, working with designers and clients who visit the test kitchens, as well as preparing real gourmet meals for important guests of the showroom.
The first morning after we arrived in California, we were taken on a shopping excursion led by Chefs Chris and Kyle. We were told that we would all be cooking and that there would be a plating contest at the end of our cooking experience. Everyone was a little anxious, so our trip to Whole Foods helped to distract and waylay the fears of our cooking and design skills being "put on a platter" so to speak! We learned some very helpful information along the way. I thought you might enjoying learning what the pros taught us as well.
Our mission was to shop for the items we would need to prepare our lunch menu in the Thermador test kitchen. (Yes, this is a real life chef's list! ) You know it is someone with very specific requirements with words like "baby beets, micro greens,heirloom tomato and pee wee potatoes".
Our large group was divided into two more intimate groups. Chris led our group. He first took us to the vinegar aisle to choose our balsamic vinegar. Here are the two he chose for our menu. He told us that high quality balsamic vinegar should have or "must" have "musto" in its ingredient list. You don't want sulphates in your balsamic vinegar either. The highest grade of balsamic vinegar is the so-called Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale de Modena which means "Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena". True Modena balsamic vinegar is only produced in Modena or neighboring Reggio Emilia,Italy. It must be aged for no less than 12 years in a wooden barrel and made from the Trebbiano grapes grown in those regions.
The other great tip we learned from the chefs was to use avocado oil for searing tuna! Avocado oil can be used in many of the same applications as olive oil, but because it has a smoke point of 500F, it's perfect for high heat cooking which is what you want to perfectly sear tuna! The benefits are amazing. It's also great to drizzle over fresh fruit or use in salad dressing as it has that slight hint of avocado.
To read about the health benefits of using avocado oil click here! I just might start slathering it on my face! This is the actual brand we purchased. If you would like to order it online it can be found here!
Next, we went to the cheese section to learn about cheese and select the cheese for our menu. Paul was our cheese connoisseur. (No that's not Paul in the picture! The only part of Paul I caught on film was his arm holding the tray of cheeses above! If you want to see Paul, you can check out the video I made of he and Chris talking cheeses and butter at Lisa Mende on Vine!) The handsome guy in the picture is Mark Weinfeld of DGWB, he is serving Ann Maine of Traditional Home and Traci Zeller.
Three cheese you need to know about!!!
We sampled three goat cheeses. Each one very different! The first Mitica Capricho De Cabra (goat cheese) was from Spain. It is affordable with a long shelf life, but most importantly creamy and delicious! The second was a Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Gouda made from goat's milk. It has a nutty flavor with a hint of caramel and fresh butter. It is made in Holland by strict specifications from Cypress Grove Creamery in California. The last cheese we taste tested was Ovalie Cendree which is a goat cheese made in an artisanal goat dairy in France. It was so creamy. The outside is sprinkled with food grade charcoal which develops the bloomy rind. (This cheese will only be at Whole Foods til the end of August so get it while it's there.) If you don't have a Whole Foods close by, you can buy the other two here and here Just delicious!
Next up was a visit with Paul (yes another Paul, but no, I dont' think it is a prerequisite for employment at Whole Foods) Paul the seafood man, told us all about the various fishes available. He recommended the Sockeye salmon fillet, which we purchased! He also allowed us to taste test salmon that he had sugar cured himself. Wish he was at my local Whole Foods so I could buy it all the time! I need to check to see if the seafood guy at our store does that.
So here is a peek into our basket at the products we gathered from our list. Oh! I almost forget two biggies....
Are you familiar with european butter? Wow, what a difference
is all I can add. We picked up a package of Lurpak Danish butter.
Butter your toast with this and you'll never go back to regular butter,ever!
Chris also shared this with us:
The Environmental Working Group created
two lists for consumers...
"The Clean Fifteen"
These items are necessary to buy organic
because they have little or no pesticides.
sweet peas (frozen)
"The Dirty Dozen"
These items are best bought organic to assure
chemical free ingesting.
sweet bell peppers
Next Chris schooled us on vegetables. He said to always buy local when possible. Whole Foods is known for having locally grown produce. Farm to table fresh is what we are talking about folks. Chris said when buying tomatoes always buy heirloom and when buying peaches for grilling always buy the hard white peaches when. He is also very fond of "Yeti" farm heirloom tomatoes.
Now do you see why I said Whole Foods was a feast for the eyes?
Vicki Edwards, of Kitchen & Bath Images from Brentwood, Tn completed her task of getting baby carrots.
Beth Brenner, publisher of Traditional Home, double checking
the list to make sure we got everything we needed! Looks like we did!
Sara Ingrassia of Sara Ingrassia Interiors, Beth Brenner of
for the items to be checked out.
Debbie Ehrman of Finn Partners is back on our bus with the loot!
Come back tomorrow to read about our visit inside the Thermador Experience Showroom! 17,000 sq feet of nothing, but beautiful appliances and extremely nice people! Can't wait to show you what we cooked! We had sooo much fun!!!!
Ok, so I lied there were way more than 7 things I learned but I quit
counting after 7. Hopefully, you learned something new as well!
"A big fat thank you to Thermador and Traditional Home for
a fabulous day!"
Make sure you visit Thermador.com today, for all kinds of helpful advice on how to plan your kitchen, product info and other interesting info!
(All photos are property of Lisa Mende Design, please do
not use without giving proper credit.)
(My trip was sponsored by Traditional Home and Thermador
but the opinions in this post are my own.)