I have just gotten home from the inaugural first day of the first-ever Music City Eats. I will tell you about the food (fabulous) and wine (copious) tomorrow, but today I have to tell you about the best cooking demo I have ever seen and I’ve seen a few. I have watched Julia Child, Bobby Flay and Jacques Pepin cook, but the single best cooking demo ever was done today by Texas chef Tim Love. It involved booze, profanity and a few really good tips on how to use rubs and marinades.
So here’s what a normal cooking demo starts out looking like:
Chef will demonstrate a few things, audience will take notes and occasionally check their iPhones for the sports scores.
Hey, how about a margarita? Why, yes, I’d love one! Love sends out servers with margaritas for the entire audience. Booze and cooking – two of my favorite things.
I have already sampled 34 wines and a couple of beers, but I’m game. I take a sip. It’s really good. Alrighty then, let’s get to the cooking. I learn not to smash the rub into slow-cooking meats (they can’t breathe!) and to never add acid to a marinade (oh, oh…I do that). And then, demo interruption for (drum roll) shots of tequila!
This is a King of Leon (Jared, I think…so sorry, I should know this) downing a shot with Tim. I will now refer to him by his first name since I’ve finished my margarita and I’m in a very happy place. The Kings of Leon are a Nashville-based, Grammy-winning band who are somehow friends with famous chefs and got this whole Music City Eats thing going. I think.
Now Tim is talking about steaks and the fact that unless it’s a cheap piece of beef, you should never marinate them. You should, however, apply salt and pepper liberally to a two-inch steak. Or as he puts it: “When a steak is two inches thick, it requires a shit ton of seasoning.” This is because when you take a bite you want a balance of salt on the exterior to the expansive interior of the meat. Or as he puts it: “Salt on the bite and velvet on the fucking palate.” I couldn’t agree more, but I’m having trouble taking notes now. Oh, always put chopped onions in your marinade. I can’t remember why, but just do it.
Throughout all this, Giada De Laurentiis is doing a demo in a tent across the lawn. And Tim has encouraged us to yell loudly just to see if we can mess with her game. “We love you, Giada!!” we scream at the top of our lungs. We don’t know if she hears us, but we don’t care because some of us are on our second margarita.
And now it’s time for the finale. A shot contest for the audience in which five shot glasses are filled with canola oil and one with tequila. Whoever gets the tequila wins a prize. Nobody cares what it is. Why wouldn’t you want to be blindfolded and do shots with Tim Love?
I would like to say at this point that Tim Love can hold his liquor. During his demonstration, he’s had two glasses of wine, two tequila shots and a margarita. And he didn’t even nick himself with a knife. I’d be in the emergency room.
What can I say? I LOVE this guy. We learned a few things, had a cocktail or two and even though he ran over his allotted time, nobody left.
So here’s my moment of zen: