Food and Dining Radio Show – 2.21.08
Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Pedro Ferrer (PF)
Art Smith (AS)
Ellie Krieger (EK)
LG: Today we have Ellie Krieger from the Food Network show Healthy Appetite – hello Ellie. We’re also joined by Pedro Ferrer from Freixenet. Welcome to everyone.
PF: Thank you for having me here.
LG: Sitting next to me is Art Smith. Art is Oprah’s Special Events Chef and was her personal Chef for 10 years.
AS: Thank you for having me.
LG: Fred Tasker is here in his usual seat. Fred writes the wine suggestions for my column in the Miami Herald. Go to miamiherald.com to read that and check out my blog.
JC: Look at all those bottles and glasses.
FT: I have 5 glasses and 2 bottles.
LG: Ellie is joining us from New York. She’s coming down to Miami tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s going to be warm and sunny tomorrow!
EK; I’m looking forward to coming!
LG: One of the new events this year at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is “Fun and Fit As A Family.” You and Art are going to take part in it. Tell us about it.
EK: I’m going to be there on Saturday and Sunday. It’s an opportunity for families to cook together and talk about food. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to be turned on to the joys of cooking and food…things that will take them far in life.
LG: For a child to attend you do need an adult. There are going to be cooking classes and there are other events there throughout the day at Jungle Island, formerly the Parrot Jungle. Art, you are there also?
AS: Yes! We’re going to be doing steak tacos with the kids.
LG: I understand there are tickets left. Google “South Beach Wine and Food Festival” to find out more. Ellie, your Food Network show is called Healthy Appetite. I suspect it’s not a large amount. What’s it all about?
EK: I’m a nutritionist and I’m a food lover first. Some things I have noticed over the years is that you have to choose between good food and delicious food. That sense of mutual exclusivity doesn’t have to be there. It’s a mistake to look at food as either one. I help people learn how to love food in a healthy way. I do that in my cook book too, The Food You Crave.
LG: You say in the book that people can eat the food they crave. What are the foods most people crave?
EK: That’s a personal thing, but there are certain universal things. People crave food that tastes delicious. They want a sense of absolute wonderful flavor coming through.
LG: If it doesn’t taste good it doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or not.
EK: I completely agree. We’re falsely trained to think that if it tastes good it can’t be good for you.
LG: There are some people in the studio who say that quite often [laughing].
EK: Yeah, take steak for example. Rubbing it with coffee or chili is good for you, or make tacos with fresh herbs like cilantro.
LG: Art is smiling.
AS: I love your book honey, it’s fabulous! I was just looking at it and I said, “this girl can cook!” I love the nutritional aspect.
EK: That means a lot coming from you. Thanks Art. The nutrition is there but I don’t want people to come to the table with a calculator. It gives perspective on what people are eating. And when I do the nutritional analysis it’s amazing to me how much nutrition is in good food. And in the book I put what each recipe is a good or excellent sources of as far as vitamins and minerals.
LG: We have a caller. Let’s go to the phones.
Caller: Hello, I have a question about the Festival. This is the first year I’ve lived on Miami Beach. Is it possible to walk along and get into something?
FT: You should go to the website and see what’s sold out and what’s not. The big celebrity events are sold out, although the 10pm event with Emeril has some tickets left.
LG: It’s sobewineandfoodfest.com. You can’t just walk up to the grand tasting tent and get in. You won’t be able to drive anywhere near it, so walk is the operative word here. They start selling tickets in October. Let’s go to another caller.
Caller: My question is for the wine expert. I go to dinner quite often and I don’t like dry wines, I like sweet wine. I was given a Riesling. Is there something you can recommend?
LG: You can go to Fred’s wine blog on miamiherald.com/wine and find out.
FT: Thanks Linda. I have a lot of suggestions there.
LG: We’re talking about the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. We’re going to take a quick break and be right back.
LG: We’re back and we’ve been talking with stars of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival that starts tonight. Ellie Krieger is the star of Healthy Appetite on the Food Network. She’s in New York. Also with us is Art Smith, the Chef to Oprah Winfrey. Fred, you’ve got a lot of glasses in front of you. Are you sharing?
FT: I’m talking with a star of the wine world today. When I say the word Freixenet you may recognize it. The Ferrer Family makes beautiful cava and wines all over the world. The frosty black bottle of cava is very nice stuff and it’s in the $10-$15 range. There’s a lot more to it than that. The Ferrer ownership dates back to the 16th century. They have maintained the status of a family-owned winery since then. Now they own wine estates on 4 continents. Today we welcome Pedro Ferrer, the CEO of the company. Welcome.
Can you tell us about some of the wine estates?
PF: Thank you. In Spain we own Freixenet, it’s located close to Barcelona.
FT: It’s a beautiful place. They have a fabulous tour that’s open to the public.
PF: It’s close to the train station so anybody can go. In the cava region we have Segura Viudas.
FT: It’s a beautiful bottle and we have a pour of it in these fabulous Riedel glasses. Linda wants us to demonstrate the proper way to toast. You clink along the side of the glass, not at the top.
JC: T hey have a nice resonance.
FT: You see the bubbles rising straight up from it.
LG: It looks expensive and fancy.
FT: Yes, but it would be only around $20 in the store.
LG: It comes in a beautiful box.
PF: In the rest of the world we have Sonoma in California, which is one of my favorite wineries. One reason is because it’s named after my mother who shares a name with my daughter. We also make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s very easy to get there from San Francisco. We also have wineries in Argentina, Bordeaux, and Australia.
LG: Do you travel yourself to all these places. That’s a full time job on the plane!
PF: Yes, it’s a full time job on the plane. And also my father is 82 and still extremely active. He travels around to all of the wineries. I was just with him in Argentina last week.
FT: Do you have any idea how many cases of wine you’re responsible for making each year?
PF: Yes I have an idea. [laughing] I know we make 18 million cases of all brands. You need to multiple that times 12, because in each case there are 12 bottles.
FT: I can’t do it in my head but if people are interested I’ll blog about this in the morning.
LG: Ellie, do you mention wine in your program?
EK: Yes! I love to drink cava with Asian food. People shouldn’t save it for special occasions. It should be regular everyday bubbly.
FT: That’s a good point. With Cava you can drink it more regularly. A great combination is Cava and fried chicken.
EK: I have this fantastic oven-baked fried chicken recipe. You really have to give it a try.
FT: Pedro, on what occasion would you open a bottle of Freixenet?
PF: For us one tradition we have where I live is every Sunday we get together with my entire family and we have a bottle of Cava there.
LG: What do you eat with it?
PF: Tapas, paella…traditional foods of the region.
LG: Art’s book is called, Back To The Table, The Reunion Of Food And Family. In Europe you get together with the family at least once a week.
AS: Yes, it is great.
LG: Ellie I know you have to leave us. Thanks for joining us.
EK: It has been my pleasure.
LG: Her book is, The Food You Crave. In addition to the “Fun and Fit As A Family,” you’re going to do a cooking demonstration at the grand tent. Also with us is Art Smith and Pedro Ferrer. We’ll be back with more.
LG: And we’re back. We’re talking with stars from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Here with us is Art Smith who was Oprah’s Special Events Chef and her personal Chef for 10 years. What was that like?
AS: That was an amazing adventure and I so loved the time with her. A lot of people know I’m a native Floridian and the son of a cattle rancher. I wanted to be a Chef. It’s interesting how life takes us to these different places. Of course I also worked with Senator Graham and still have a close tie with his family.
LG: I have a special hello for you from his wife. She says you brought up her daughters.
AS: They are lovely little girls.
LG: They’re not so little anymore
AS: No, and now they have wonderful children. They daily demonstrate what being a family is about. They make a point to sit down as a family and eat together. And I love the fact that I could cook local Florida foods. I’m a southern man and I didn’t come from France or some other place. I always wanted to cook what I know, and I know biscuits.
LG: Adele also told me that, when asked what she wanted to do this year for her birthday, she opted for a dinner with her family at your new restaurant Table 52 in Chicago.
AS: We’re going to make it the best! We’re going to have Adele festival. When I found this out I said, “we’re going to make it something special.” So yes, I’ve opened a tiny restaurant, we’re only 32 seats. We average around 200 people for dinner. We specialize in contemporary American food, but with wonderful Southern undertones. We have these delicious chops that my butcher Allen Brothers does for me. We do fried chicken on Sunday and you cannot imagine the line!
LG: We’ve been talking about these biscuits. Let’s remind everyone that you’re going to be at the Burger Bash tonight. Tell us about your burger.
AS: I love burgers. I grew up with my mother making them from me. My grandmother is from North Miami. It starts with our biscuits, which we bake in little cast-iron skillets. We have this wonderful ground filet and my butcher makes this special meat for us.
LG: How do you get them so smoky?
AS: It’s love.
LG: What’s your secret?!
AS: The Executive Chef at the Ritz-Carlton at South Beach is the best. He has a grill and it’s charcoal. So anyway we add arugula and heirloom tomatoes. We make a chutney with tomatoes and it has some wonderful smoked paprika in it. There’s a funny story behind this. I made this burger on the Oprah show. When you make a chutney you have to cook it slowly. And it scorched when I was making it during an all-night cooking session. And I served it and people loved the smoked chutney. So what do I have to do?! Burn it again to get the smoky flavor?! [laughing]
LG: What’s it like being Oprah’s chef?
AS: She’s an amazing woman. Oprah is probably one of the most inspiring women and I love her to death.
LG: So she’s easy to work with?
AS: She loves high quality food because and she does know it. And she loves wonderful wine. She also loves Spain. She’s a remarkable lady and we’ve had some incredible guests. One time I had the opportunity to cook for Nelson Mandela. I was star struck when I met him. When I went over to meet him I said to Oprah, “he’s just amazing.” And she said “honey, I didn’t know if you were going to curtsey or bow.” [laughing] I cooked for President George Bush Senior and his wife.
LG: What did you make?
AS: I made fried chicken and this wonderful pomegranate sauce. I wanted the food to be served family style because I wanted people to share their food.
LG: That’s the name of your book. You want people to come together.
AS: Yes, sometimes plated food is unfriendly. And getting back to the Burger Bash, I love Rachael Ray and everything she’s doing with Yummo and Fun and Fit.
LG: Let’s tell people if they just tuned in that there’s “Fun and Fit As A Family” this weekend. It’s children and families cooking together. It’s learning how to make great, healthy food.
AS: It’s important that we embrace the whole family. With this we can bring the children in and show them. If you want to inspire your children, take your children to a restaurant of a different culture and let them experience it. Miami is a great place to do that.
LG: He’s so happy to be here.
AS: Miami is so beautiful. They didn’t have to ask me twice to come. [laughing]
LG: If you want to learn more google South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Just before we go to the break, tell us about Common Threads.
AS: Four and a half years ago my partner and I felt there was a need to teach children about the world through food. We founded Common Threads. We started with 20 kids in a church basement. I taught a little girl how to eat broccoli. And now we teach 1,000 children.
LG: These are underprivileged children?
AS: Yes, and now we have 3 in LA and 1 in Mississippi. All of these great Chefs have agreed to help us and they’re donating their time.
LG: I’m Linda Gassenheimer and we’re talking with Art Smith and Pedro Ferrer. We’ll taking a short break and will be back with more.
LG: We’re talking with stars from South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
JC: What doesn’t Oprah like?
AS: I didn’t serve a dish she didn’t like. Probably what she doesn’t like is bad quality.
LG: Also with us is Pedro Ferrer. Well, it’s Dinner in Minutes time. Today’s dinner is a special burger and it’s in honor of the burger bash. It’s a southwestern burger with a quick slaw. See the recipe on my website. Fred, what can we drink with my southwestern chicken burger?
FT: This burger is nice. It’s a great chicken burger. Luckily we have the perfect wine to go with that and Chef Art’s burger, and that is something that Pedro Ferrer has brought. It’s the Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir from their winery in California.
PF: That wine is in my heart because I had two children born there.
LG: For people who just tuned in, Art made us burgers that he’s making tonight which are on his dropped cheddar biscuit bun with smoky tomato chutney and sirloin.
FT: It’s a perfect combination with this wine. Did Gloria start out as sparking wine?
PF: Yes, at the beginning it was. In ’92 we started making still wines. But they’re made out of the same grape verities as the sparkling wine.
FT: Yes, so it’s a lot more like a French Burgundy. This is a $25 wine. So Predro you’re here for an award. Your parents are receiving the Southern Wine and Spirits Lifetime Achievement Award. I know your parents created the winery in California. What else have they done?
PF: My father has multiplied the business by more than 100.
FT: How many years was he running it actively?
PF: He’s still very active. He goes every day to the winery. And he started when he was 12 years old.
FT: You know family-run wineries don’t always stay.
PF: We have been family-run for centuries, and so far so good.
LG: Well let’s toast you. And I understand they’re getting a beautiful Riedel decanter.
FT: Yes, we’re drinking the red wine out of a Riedel Pinot Noir glass. It’s huge and at the top it’s curved out like a tulip. That spills the wine in a way that minimizes the acid.
LG: Unfortunately we’re out of time. Art Smith, thank you so much for joining us. His latest book is Back To The Table, The Reunion Of Food And Family. He’ll be bat the festival this week. Pedro Ferrer, thanks so much for joining us, and many congratulations to your family. Join us next time.