6pm and I get a msg from Kel saying that he might not be able to make it. Slightly past 7pm, the event’s already started and I give him a call – I can go shoe shopping instead! But no, Kel insisted I go without him and that he’d plan on leaving work soon to meet me there. I’m teetering precariously on 5″ heels as I briskly walk towards the French Culinary Institute.

Up a flight of stairs and I’m in the “Institute” part of FCI. I say hi to Wylie Dufresne in the hallway where he stands next to a bunch of chefs plating little bits of food stuffs on a table against the wall. In the auditorium, I am given a plate of the first course before I even get to sit down, and a glass of Duvel. I save a seat for Kel, and start nibbling on the crab cake like concoction as I wait for Wylie’s cooking demo to start…

Peekytoe crab roll salt ‘n vinegar chips, celery mayonnaise
I loved the crunchiness of the chips, and crab.. what a great start. Good thing Kel arrived shortly after… and they’d saved a plate for him!

Cold Fried Chicken, buttermilk-ricotta, tabasco, caviar.
Apparently the fried chicken is made from chicken thighs, and the process is very much like that of making a terrine. The buttermilk-ricotta was so fluffy and tasted almost like mashed potatoes.

Here is Wylie waving around a tube of egg yolks, demonstrating how he makes the famous eggs benedict at wd-50.

Eggs benedict, fried hollandaise, Canadian bacon.
Lived up to the hype… my favorite dish from the demo.

Look at the melting core of the fried hollandaise!

Grapefruit curd, campari, hibiscus, sorrel sorbet.
A bit too much of the sour grapefruit, but the squishy and creamy curd was yummy. And the sorbet tasted like grass. In a good way.

We got to have a quick chat with the chef after the event and he was every bit as friendly and down to earth as he seemed. Fun event – the beer pairings were actually pretty good. (Yep, almost palatable for a hardcore PBR drinker such as myself.) And best of all? This intimate gathering was all courtesy of Mastercard and thanks to the incredible luck of the boy Kel. Do I see a trip to wd-50 in my future soon…?

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