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Cook Like a Chef with Cat Cora and Dean Corbett

Most everyone, even skeptics, enjoys the entertainment value of a fun cooking demonstration

There is something innate about the culinary pas de deux that develops in kitchens. The smooth flow of cooking and service and the economies of movement need to work long hours in tight quarters are the result of shared training, knife skills, and a universal language.

Most everyone, even skeptics, enjoys the entertainment value of a fun cooking demonstration, especially if it involves a new gadget or piece of equipment. If you are avid fans of the Food Network, love cookbooks, and enjoying learning great recipes from accomplished celebrity chefs then you won’t want to miss an upcoming series of live cooking demonstrations the Macy’s Culinary Council is presenting in three different U.S. cities in May.

Each cooking demonstration is headlined by a celebrity chef that specializes in a different type of cuisine, and on May 4 Macy’s is hosting a demonstration in Louisville, Kentucky featuring the talented duo of Iron Chef Cat Cora and celebrated Louisville, Kentucky chef, Dean Corbett.  Cat Cora and Dean Corbett know Macy’s is THE place to find the best quality cookware and prices, and they get a kick out of sharing their favorite gadgets and recipes with home cooks.

Their joint cooking demonstration will be held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 4 and the unofficial theme is Southern food. For Cat Cora, “I am really bringing in my Southern roots with a twist and taking it to the next level,”while Dean Corbett will showcase a classic Low Country dish that reflects the flavors of Kentucky.

The Macy’s Culinary Council: An organization that supports American cooks

Nancy Silverton, Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, and other luminary chef members of the Macy’s Culinary Council are dedicated to improving family meals. Over the years, these chefs have shared their considerable expertise, time, and recipes in exciting cooking demonstrations designed to inspire Americans “to eat, cook and enjoy food at home - just like a chef.” Each chef continues to share his or her cooking tips, gives advice about how to prepare more meals at home with less effort, and provides recipes consumers want to cook and eat.

Spring 2016 Macy’s Culinary Council Cooking Demonstration in Louisville on May 4

Fans of  Iron Chef and down home cooking with flair, will enjoy seeing two talented chefs with Southern cooking credentials strut their stuff during an intimate demonstration designed to reflect both their cooking styles and distinct interpretations of Southern cuisine.

Raised in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in Jackson, Mississippi, Cat Cora comes from a close-knit Greek family that cherished family meals and special occasions around the table. This instilled Cat with a love of food and cooking and led to completion of her degree from the Culinary Institute of America and the pursuit of a wildly successful culinary career as a chef, cookbook author, educator, and television personality.   

She celebrates the spices, cooking techniques, ingredients, and culinary roots of her Greek and Southern heritage and has shared her interpretations of cuisines in a range of successful partnerships with Macy’s, Disney, RWS Resorts, the Food Network, and in other restaurant projects and food industry business ventures.

Cat Cora may have earned fame as the first female Iron Chef, but she is also a chef with a big heart and is an avid philanthropist. She is president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization that originated in response to the 2004 Tsunami disaster and has worked with international charity Save the Children to help shed light on the world hunger crisis impacting children.

Dean Corbett earned his cooking chops in Dallas, Texas at renowned properties like the Chandler’s Landing Yacht Club and the Ram’s Head Restaurant, but it was in Louisville, Kentucky that he made his mark. At four-star Northern Italian Casa Grisanti, Dean Corbett rose through the ranks and participated in Taste of America: a celebration of the top 50 restaurants for President Reagan’s inauguration in 1984.

Since then, Dean Corbett has opened successful bistro with a Derby theme and a highly regarded lounge beloved for its cocktails, however, it was in 2007 thathe fully realized his talents and dream and opened Corbett’s: An American Place. Set in a romantic 19th century mansion, Corbett’s has received rave reviews for its new American cuisine with a Southern accent; in 2008 Corbett’s was named one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants;” the restaurant continues to receive accolades for its wine list; and chef Corbett has gained national exposure from appearances on MSNBC’s Today Show and The Cooking Channel’s Food (ography).

What’s on the Menu

Just in time for the Kentucky Derby, both chefs are demonstrating recipes that could be served at any Southern meal, but are especially fun for Derby Day. Cat Cora’s dishes, include her version of Ambrosia made with grapefruit, cherries, and honey cream, which appears in her cookbook, Classics with a Twist,and her second dish,black eyed pea croquettes with dandelion greens and a spicy aïoli, is a tasty take on two Southern staples given a bit of French flair with the addition of a creamy aïoli. Although these dishes aren’t currently being served in Cat Cora’s restaurants, she isn’t ruling this out and says, “they might be after this!”

Dean Corbett is showing his Southern bona fides and will demonstrate how to prepare a Kentucky version of shrimp and grits featuring house cured bacon with Kentucky bourbon.” This dish has become so popular it’s “served in all three restaurants with each restaurant putting their spin on the dish depending on price point.”

Cook like a Chef with Easy Recipes

Cat Cora chose her dishes because “I just feel the wonderful vibe of Kentucky and wanted to be a part of that with my Southern roots.” Dean Corbett chose to cook shrimp and grits because it’s “a dish which represents the South and many of the ingredients used in the dish, and on our Kentucky-based menu…are found only in Kentucky, like the grits, which are from Weisenberger Mill in Midway, Kentucky.”

A Distinct Culinary Point of View

As a mom and a chef, Cat Cora wants consumers to know that, “I have an extremely high standard of excellence and quality. Local, seasonal, all natural and sustainable is my philosophy.  Healthy gourmet has always been my platform.” Cat Cora’s cooking reflects her Greek and Southern roots, but also her classic French culinary training. “I pull from all of these influences every day in my cooking and carefully blend certain aspects of all of these cuisines at appropriate times. It is a delicate balance and not everything can be fused together.  But I love to experiment and blend to see how I can create unique dishes.”

Dean Corbett’s culinary point of view is also a blend of training and heavily influenced by years cooking Italian food. He stresses that, “At the end of the day I would like people to remember that my food was always seasonally correct with the emphasis being on available local and regional ingredients presented simply.” As in Italy, Southern cooking is simply prepared with a focus on what’s in season and locally available, and for Dean, “What I love about America is the rich bounty of available produce, vegetables and now proteins which are locally and humanely raised. Having been trained in a classic Italian environment, ingredients like chanterelle mushrooms, radicchio and fresh buffalo milk mozzarella really opened my eyes to the complexities of Northern and Southern Italian regions. I try and pull from both techniques in my cooking.”

This combination of rural Southern and Italian cuisines is evident in his menus and approach to seasoning. “I was raised and brought up in an era of intense competition and hunger for that next challenge. Chefs from my era had zero exposure to public relations, food festivals or new wave cooking techniques. I was trained simply from a flavor first standpoint from chefs who insisted on perfection in every single dish. Failure or inconsistency was not an option.”

Both chefs will be demonstrating fun, easy recipes. Cat says, “All the dishes I do I try to make them user friendly,” and Dean emphasizes that, “Shrimp and grits is quite simple and can be prepared at home, but as with all great food a little patience is required.”  Both chefs suggest there are a few dishes anyone can cook, and for Cat Cora, “I always say if you can read, you can cook. The best way to start is simple and start with what you know and build from there.”

If you want to incorporate Greek, Southern, French, or American food into your regular menus, Cat suggests, “I think using my cookbooks as well as buying my App, Cat Cora's Kitchen on ITunes to see how I incorporate ingredients of these cuisines into everyday dishes.” After all these years cooking Southern and Greek foods, she still doesn’t have one favorite dish she likes to cook or eat and says, “It's varies depending on season, time of the week, day, my mood,  weather and what I can get my hands on.”

For an easy dish anyone can cook at home, Dean Corbett suggests “Slow roasted pot roast but great ingredients are a must. The technique used is the braising method, which reflects my favorite technique. Through roasting time and reduction, amazing complexities of flavors come forward.” According to Dean, an easy way to incorporate Italian or American food into your regular menus is simply to “Experiment. Make yourself try new ingredients. Buy fresh vegetables every day and experiment cooking them with different styles. Try braising them, sautéing them, grilling them, poaching, them, etc.”

“Italian markets are loaded with interesting flavors; the selection of pastas is unbelievable now. I love tubular pastas which hold sauces well and San Marzano tomatoes are my favorite ingredient.” However, after years cooking, eating and teaching Italian and Southern food his favorite dish is, a Philippinerib dishcalled Adobo. Served with steamed jasmine riceits perfection in a bowl.”

Cook at Home Like a Chef

The chefs chosen by the Macy’s Culinary Council are dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to cook more at home. Cat Cora thinks people can get motivated through her “TV appearances, old Iron Chef shows, her books, social media posts, and appearance such as the ones I do with Macy’s. I make all kinds of things for my kids; they are good eaters and like fish tacos, grilled pork tenderloin, and they love my lasagna and Greek chicken and so many other dishes. 

Good equipment can help get you motivated, and Cat recommends shopping at Macy’s for “a good set of knives, a good blender, a good set of utensils, a nice set of sauté pans, sauce pots.” For Dean Corbett, the best way to get into the habit of cooking at home is to “Invite friends over and have everyone brings something different to play with.” And of course, have the right equipment, including “an 8-inch chef’s knife, it’s most important, followed by kitchen tongs and a deep walled sauté pan.

Event Details and Special Offers

Date: May 4, 2016

Time: 6:00PM

Venue: Macy’s Oxmoor Center Mall

Location: Furniture Department, 3rd Floor

Price per person: Free

 

Impress your family and friends at your next gathering with recipes from our very own Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Cat Cora and Louisville Chef Dean Corbett. Learn from the masters as they show you how to prepare some of their favorite award-winning dishes for any race day occasion. The best part? There will be plenty of scrumptious samples to enjoy! Plus, with any purchase* of $35 or more in the Home Department, receive a $10 Macy’s gift card,** a special race day gift and your choice of either chef’s cookbook. The chefs will even sign it for you after the demonstration!† Seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

One lucky guest will also win a gift certificate to Chef Corbett’s restaurant, Corbett’s!

Beginning on Monday, April 25th, call 1-877-556-2297 to reserve your seat. Hours are as follows:

Monday through Saturday 11am-5pm EDT and Sunday 1pm-5pm EDT.

To learn more about the Macy’s Culinary Council and upcoming events, visit macys.com/culinarycouncil

Follow us on Twitter: @CulinaryCouncil

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