Photos & Stories from Macy's DeGustibus Event

 Monday, May 20, 2013

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a cooking demo at the Macy's De Gustibus school with Chef Marc. Because he's pretty much a "celebrity" chef, Marc gets invited to do a lot of various events, appearances, and classes. The event was an American Cut preview event because....we're opening an American Cut in NYC!!! This is GIANT news that I could not be more excited to share, especially since I will be moving back to be the pastry chef! More about that later!

Paramount Hotel
I got up to NYC the day before the event and checked in at The Paramount Hotel, a hotel owned by American Cut's parent company, LDV. Beautiful hotel, wish I could have spent more time there, but we were super busy with prepping for the next day. I headed downtown to Chef's restaurant, Marc Forgione, to begin preparing for the De Gustibus event. We did 5 courses in total, with dessert being the last. For dessert, we made my mascarpone cheesecake with a tangerine gelee. This cheesecake has been on the menu at Cut in various forms since the winter; currently it's paired weth a rhubarb Campari gelee and rhubarb fennel sorbet.

Here's the deal about the Forge kitchen... It is really tiny. And not so well-equipped. With low ceilings, a lot of humidity, and a walk-in refrigerator that feels like a cave. It's really incredible how they manage to turn out consistently incredible food with the resources they have. Kudos to the staff who works there on a daily basis. They managed to clear off a good amount of space for me, so my prep was no problem...Until I had to bake the cheesecakes in what appeared to be a large toaster oven. Unaccustomed to the way that oven worked, my cheesecakes swelled, and I had to perform some "surgery" on them the next day to give me enough room to put the gelee on top. A small problem that cost me at least an hour of sleep because I like to over stress about everything.

Showing how to mix the cheesecake
Mascarpone Cheesecake
Chef Marc in action
Wednesday was the day of the event and we met at Forge to do some last minute preparations and pack up to drive over to Macy's Herald Square. When we finally beat the traffic and got there, Chef Marc attempted to give me the keys to his brand new SUV to park it. Here's all you need to know about my driving skills: They are not good. I quickly handed them off to our chef de cuisine, Quincy, and assumed navigation responsibilities.

When we got in the DeGustibus kitchen, our hosts Sal (the owner/director of De Gustibus) and Emeril (the kitchen's lead chef) could not have been nicer or more accommodating. I'd seriously like to go back every week just to hang out with them. We unloaded all of our mise en place and got ready for guests to arrive. The first four courses were a blur with Chef showing the attendees how to prepare some of Cut's signature dishes: everything bagel gourgeres, shrimp cocktail, the OG caesar salad, and Tomahawk/chili lobster surf & turf. Before I knew it, it was time for me to hit the stage to assist Chef Marc with the dessert course. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I'm used to being behind the scenes making the desserts, not on stage in front of an audience.

Fire power, unmolding cheesecakes

As soon as the lady in the front row yelled out "You're so pretty!" (did I mention there were wine pairings with each of the courses...?), I felt calmer, and Sal, Chef, and myself began to converse about the desserts at American Cut, our process, and the cheesecake we were preparing (which the audience got to eat while we were demoing). We told the story of how it took over 20 attempts to perfect the recipe.

Overall, the event was a big success. I personally had so much fun, and I hope that I get to do another event at De Gustibus in the future. So onto my bigger news... I will be moving back to NYC in a couple of months to open our second location of American Cut! The restaurant will be located on Greenwich St. in Tribeca (only a block away from where I got my restaurant start at Locanda Verde!) and will be opening sometime in late summer. As much as I've enjoyed my time in Atlantic City, I am anxious to get back to NYC which feels like "home." I have a couple more months though to soak up all the UV rays I can.
Group Shot


Lara Nicotra June 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM  

Just saw this news - congrats Tara! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to try out the new restaurant :)

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