Cooking Tent Demos

Paul Macry gives a demo in 2013.
Paul Macry gives a demo in 2013. (Photo by John Anderson)

You guys keep showing up in droves, so we are happy to bring you demos at the Cooking Tent once again for this year's festival. We are thrilled to again partner with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts as the sponsor of the activities. The hardworking students and awesome chef instructors will be assisting the chefs and passing samples and recipe cards to all attendees, so be sure to thank them and ask them about their experiences at the school. We are also pleased to have Whole Foods Market bring their fantastic hearty chips for the demos and grand tasting. Because the festival is starting at noon this year, the demos will start right at 12:30, and will continue in hourly blocks ending at 3:30. Each presentation lasts 30-40 minutes, including time for audience questions.

I am so excited about this year's lineup, since all are dear friends and incredibly talented. They will be getting really creative, stepping out of the box to show us some exciting recipes and techniques that go beyond your garden-variety salsa and chips, so be sure to get there early to snag a chair. As usual, I'll be your emcee for the afternoon. The tent will be at the same spot as last year – conveniently located next to one of the bars – on the east end of Fiesta Gardens, facing Jesse E. Segovia Street. Below is the schedule to help you plan out your day. See you all there!

12:30-1:30pm: Chef Jeff Martinez from El Chile is going to kick things off with a refreshing avocado-cucumber gazpacho with morita chile oil. The San Antonio native has worked in some impressive kitchens, starting with his hometown's Biga (now known as Biga on the Banks) before coming to Austin to work at Jeffrey's. He went along with his friend Carlos Rivero to open El Chile and El Chilito, then spent some time in the kitchen at Fonda San Miguel. After a bit of globe-trotting, Martinez returned to El Chile as executive chef in 2012, and has enlivened the menu with new dishes inspired by his travels and his own creative talents. We are honored that he accepted our invitation!

1:30-2:30pm: Longtime Austinites will know chef Charles Mayes, founder of the beloved Cafe Josie. Mayes sold the cafe over a year ago, and is now making and bottling his signature sauces, aiolis, and vinaigrettes under the label Austin Josie Artisan Foods. The newest addition to his products is a line of rustic salsas, which will be available at retail outlets later this year. But we will get a sneak peek at the demo tent, where Mayes will show us how to make a salsa using seasonal Hatch chiles and traditional Mexican utensils like stone molcajetes and metates. This will be super interesting!

2:30-3:30pm: Last but never least, chef Paul Macry from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts will close things up for the afternoon. Always fun and knowledgeable, chef Macry is a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute (now Le Cordon Bleu Portland) and former chef at the Austin Country Club. He has been a chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu for more than 10 years, currently teaching the International component of the Cuisines Across Cultures program, and is also a fixture at the preliminary Hot Sauce Contest judging panel. Chef Paul will be showing harissa in all of its glory, serving the fiery North African chile paste with hummus topped with cilantro oil, served with pita. You do not want to miss this one!

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