A cause, a chef and me

Another amazing week as I hosted the “Come+Together” culinary event yesterday at Macy’s in Farmington, Connecticut. I was honored and delighted to help support this important cause.

This year Macy’s partnered with Feeding America, and is campaigning to raise awareness for the 36.2 Americans who are unable to feed their families. The “Come+Together” national campaign aims to feed 10 million hungry Americans, and every dollar raised can provide dinner for seven (7) hungry Americans – an impressive number. That said, this was a wonderful way for me to show my support and give back to my community.

As the host of the event, I was to introduce the guest of honor, Macy’s Celebrity Culinary Chef, Govind Armstrong. Know for his signature – small plates and big flavors – Govind is the head Chef and partner of the Hollywood hot-spot Table 8. He has reinvented comfort food, tantalizing the taste buds of Elton John, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Janet Jackson, to name a few. I have now become his new biggest fan. Not having met him prior to the event, I did my homework and was ready to spend some quality time as he cooked two of his dishes: Grilled Endive/Serrano Ham and Warm Boucheron with Avocado, Roasted Onion, and Aged Balsamic. An overhead camera made it possible for the audience to see the preparations, while I asked Chef Govind questions such as: “What was it like to be on Oprah?” (She sang happy birthday to him!), and “Which A-list celebrity would you like to cook for next?” (Our President and First Family.) I had to agree – when it happens, I want to be his sous-chef, and would even settle for cooking for the First Dog!

Chef Govind was raised on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and in Los Angeles. With his distinctive approach to cooking and easygoing style, he has become one of the nation’s brightest culinary stars. And so well deserved. Casual, and fun to be around, it was a treat to spend some time getting to know him. His resume is filled with a who’s who of the restaurant industry, from Wolfgang Puck to Nancy Silverton. Chef Govind has had the most brilliant opportunity to work with so many legendary members of the culinary world, and I was right there next to him watching him prepare two of his signature dishes, talking as if we were old friends while I admired the ease and simplicity of his efforts. All while the public watched on. The power of three, a dream come true: being on stage, cooking, and hosting an event for Macy’s.

His book, Small Bites Big Nights, published by Clarkson Potter is available in bookstores across the county or through amazon.com. Govind Armstrong knows how to create spectacular menus for occasions of all sizes. In this first book, he shows you how to put together a menu of small, sophisticated, sexy dishes and pair them with the perfect cocktail. A lot like my book, where I offer a recipe and a cocktail to complement the seasons. I knew I liked this guy.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Chef Govind and his book, as I read my personally autographed copy cover-to-cover last night. I highly recommend it, it’s a must-have! www.chefgovindarmstrong.com

As for the event? Well, it was a huge success and I’m so proud to have been part of it. I want to thank the Macy’s management team for thinking of me; one could not ask for a better organization to coordinate a charity event.

Although the event in Farmington Macy’s is over, the needs of the hungry in America continues. If you would like to learn more about Macy’s inspiring program “Come+Together”, and learn some of the creative, clever and simple ways you can help in your area, check out:social.macys.com/cometogether/

Or donate to your local Food Bank or Foodshare program, or simply visit:feedingamerica.org

Miss Violet my schnauzer missed this exciting day– ruff luck! But boy, did I have lots to tell her when I got home.