Friday, June 26, 2015

Michael Mina at Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

I am just back from the 34th annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival which is the longest running food and wine festival of its kind not just in Maui, but in the country.  

It started out as a wine only event but morphed over the years. Today food is a big part of it with celebrity chefs, classes and tasting events. I got a chance to attend a lunch cooking demo class with Chef and restaurateur Michael Mina and was pleased to see RN74 Executive Chef Adam Sobel acting as right hand man. 

Michael Mina and Adam Sobel 
Here are some learnings from the event--

- Mina said the biggest mistake home cooks make is not tasting or not knowing what you’re tasting for. Following a recipe is not enough, you must taste. Ingredients are not consistent, they are different all the time and you need to adjust your recipes. 

- The four elements he considers most important? Acidity, spice, sweetness and richness, but not all dishes have all four. 

- When plating he said, put the pot down! You are going for control. If the pot is on the counter you will have more control of the spoon in your hand. 

Chilled Thai spicy lime vinaigrette with purple basil
- When it comes to cooking squid, he recommends that you cut squid then poach it for more tenderness than poaching whole. 

- When making a vinaigrette, he lets it sit for a day before using, so the flavors meld better. 

Tomato and cocoa powder dusted seared ahi with fried cauliflower, uni aioli and calabrian chiles.

- This dish had caponata an Italian vegetable dish that Mina said goes with everything--fish, chicken, seafood, etc. 

- When crusting fish or chicken, be sure to season on all sides before crusting, and season the crusting too.

Brioche banana custard brûlée
- For the French toast style dessert, the brioche was soaked a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour to allow the custard to fully hydrate the bread, then cooked in plenty of butter.

- Toasted flavors of caramel, nuts and brûlée banana complement the richness of the custard.

Thanks for the tips chef! 

Disclaimer: My thanks to the Outrigger Kapalua for hosting me at this wonderful event. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post on Cooking with Amy.