Saturday, August 2, 2014

Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience (Giada De Laurentiis) Review

Giada De Laurentiis won over Strathmore last night

Giada Dazzles at Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience

The Music Center at Strathmore is no stranger to hosting talented performers; but even I had to admit a certain level of giddiness over seeing Giada De Laurentiis last night at the first annual Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience. The Food Network megastar entertained a large and appreciative crowd of mega-fans in what has to be the ultimate foodie experience (minus the fist pumps, handshakes and samples.)

Make no mistake, Giada builds no walls around her bubbly (and 100% authentic) personality. After a boisterous intro from WASH-FM personality (and admitted fan) Chilli Amar, Giada took the stage and immediately encouraged everyone to sit closer, "You're not afraid I'm gonna bite you?" If only! From there, she outlined the night's itinerary, "Muffuletta sandwich, pea tortellini; and in between, we can get to know each other better."

Giada answered questions from the audience (lots and lots of questions) on a wide array of subjects.

What her six-year-old daughter Jade is up to, 'Two days ago, she had candy for lunch."

Her "go-to" meal to fix at home? "Turkey meatloaf with feta and sundried tomatoes."

Her "go-to" meal for company? "Not my meatloaf."

Her favorite dessert just for herself? "7-layer fudge cake."

From there, it was on to a pair of cooking demos... casual demos, miles away from how she does it on TV, "It's all in the editing. That's what that show (The Next Food Network Star) is all about." She grabbed three guys from the audience to make muffulettas, using The Sopranos as a selling point. Her first tip? "Have you washed your hands?" followed by the line of the night, "You're gonna be eating it; so whatever." Inevitably, she had to remark, "Have you ever held a knife before?" while the two guys not named Father took turns embarrassing themselves.

After pointing out that this was the Music Center's first-ever cooking demo (Is that true?) Giada shared the sandwiches with some brave volunteers in the audience. Definitely not how she does it on TV. She took some more questions (always with a smile) then chose a woman celebrating her birthday to share the stage (with her daughter, and her daughter's friend) and make pea tortellini. No offense to the ladies, but they weren't as funny as their male counterparts. Probably because they actually knew what they were doing to a certain degree. Efficiency makes better food; but humor (and cluelessness) makes for far better entertainment.

Tonight's headliner, Andrew Zimmern certainly has his work cut out for him, following in Giada's impressive footsteps; but he makes for an interesting contrast (he sure isn't as pretty) with his own loyal following. Click here to purchase tickets. Zimmern takes the stage at 7:30 PM, immediately following the Party on the Patio starting 2 hours before the show, featuring food and drink specials.