The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I'm Officially a Chef

I'm officially a chef. That is what it says in print in the flier for the 10th annual Baltimore Book Festival. It said Chef Dara Bunjon, who knew! I've organized numerous cooking classes, attended La Varenne classes at the Greenbrier and took a 4 day course at the CIA in Hyde Park but have I truly earned that title.

I have never worked behind the line in a restaurant kitchen though years and years ago I was a short order cook at my parents patent drug and luncheonette and did the same at Read's Pharmacy while in high school to earn money for my drivers education class.

I was hired by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson to do the cooking segment from their cookbook "One Bite at a Time". A book fashioned for cancer patients that is pumped up on flavor - as Rebecca calls it "The Yum Factor". I presented a ginger carrot soup with a cashew cream topping. All went well, Mat was thrilled - the audience had questions and I knew the answers. Even an 11 year old wanted to have her picture taken with me.

There were moments of humor when two volunteers who came on stage to taste the soup were named Skip and Lou. I quipped "Skip to my Lou".

I told my story about salt being a conundrum or contradiction it sweetens, it draws moisture, removes bitter, makes water boil hotter, it adds moisture when brining - it is the only spice that has a place on our tongues - i.e. salt, sweet, sour, bitter.

Yesterday I worked for two authors doing the food prep for their demo's on the Ultimate Frozen Dessert Cookbook and the Peanut Butter Cookbook by Mark Scarborough and Michael Weinstein. I made lemon gelato for tastings and the fellows did two savory dishes from the peanut butter cookbook. Their next book is the Ultimate Cookbook. I asked, "is that a compendium of all your Ultimate themed books?" Mark replied, "no, it is all new recipes - 2,000 exactly" and rolled his eyes. I will need to start pumping iron just so I can lift the book.

Oooh, oooh-before I forget I was awarded a plate thanking for me for participating in the 10th annual Baltimore Book Festival. I was excited, thinking they spelled my name correctly in the paper....uh oh, the plate said Dana Bunjon.

Well that is it, no Five Dollar Sunday today. I'm too tired to cook, its a 25th anniversary of when hubby and I met so no sweating over the hot stove. Stay tuned in............... Chef Dara

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