This food blogging thing is very interesting. As we all know by now I started this because I love food and I love musical theatre. Therefore it was only natural for me to try to combine the two and try to create a variety cooking program with this social media stuff being my launch pad.
Well, I feel like I'm certainly growing, making my mark/figuring it all out and believe it or not this is a lot of work/time/money for someone with no budget. Yes, I know I've given you a variety of stuff on here not necessarily pertaining to my original goal but it's a work in progress and I'm glad you are along from the ride!
Anywho, as I network and just try to be my fabulous self whilst climbing the ladder to D-List celebrityism I am always/often humbled and surprised when I receive emails of love & encouragement from strangers. The best part are the gifts in the mail but this one day I received a particular special email that really is making all of this worthwhile.
ONWARD & UPWARD!
I was contacted by the loverly (yes... Loverly - if you don't get it click here - LOVERLY) people of Williams Sonoma telling me that they loved the blog and they invited me to a special Media Only Olive Oil Tasting with Armando Manni & Thomas Keller.
Well I was like "OMG! WILLIAMS SONOMA IS WRITING ME AN EMAIL!!" Then I was like "Wait a minute...THOMAS KELLER!?!? THE THOMAS KELLER!?!?!" (If you don't know who he is please educate yourself here - T-Kizzle -that's his gangster name!) Basically he is the god of all things cooking. See photo below...as we are now BFF apparently. He is the one on the left!
So off I went to buy a fabulous outfit and contemplate what it is to go to an Olive Oil Tasting. Upon arriving to Williams Sonoma in Columbus Circle with my fabulous photographer Kristin Donnelly (all photos in this blog are hers!) I received what seemed to be an exorbitant amount of documentation on something I've never really given much thought to. Enter Armando Manni...who?!?! (Another BFF of mine see photo 3) Apparently an Italian Golden Globe winner for a movie called Elvis & Marilyn turned olive oil producer because he wanted his first son to have the best and purest Italy had to offer. Since olive oil is a staple in Italy why not have the freshest right? I guess... Still not convinced at this point.
I mean here in the good ol' US of A, as a normal person on a regular budget (or if you are me... a Poor NYC dwelling Homo-Artist/foodie) we tend not to think too much about olive oil. Rachel Ray has dumbed it down to just EVOO, we buy it en masse, use it in bulk, cook with it, wash out hair in it and the prettier/more italian sounding the bottle/can the more expensive right? RIGHT! It's just Olive Oil...or is it? According to Manni no, it isn't.
The first 45 mins was a very intellectual discussion by Manni on why this wasn't the truth. Now I am not goin' to sit here and pretend that I understood everything he was talking about. I even read the first pamphlet called "What it Means to be a Virgin!" Sounds like my type of reading and it was an intense read for sure! From polyphenols to acidity levels etc. etc. Truth be told I was still sitting there very skeptical thinking to myself "This is just gonna be some more pretentious/expensive bull...ugh!" You're waiting for a turn of opinion I know it...it's coming. Well, he went on to basically describe his olive oil as olive oil in the purest form. For instance, the only way you can get true fresh olive oil is to squeeze an olive yourself and who wouldn't enjoy that? I mean we juice carrots and celery and drink it, we travel to expensive health food stores for wheat grass! But do we really want to extract oil from our own olives? HELL NO! I have better things to do and squeeze! That's where Mr. Manni comes in! (Forgive me Mr. Manni for any bastardization of your very intellectual and elegant descriptions but I'm a Gay Cook who just wants things to be fabulous)
Mr. Manni started the olive oil tasting and kicked the butt of the skeptic that I was. See fabulous tasting photos below!
We tasted 3 vintages of Manni Per Me (For me) Oil, '08, '09, '10. He himself said tasting oil was a little silly and told us to forget what it was supposed to look like...or taste like..he just wanted us to smell and think of what color that smell reminded us of. The '08 was bold and rich and reminded me of sunset, while the '10 was fresh and cool and really bright. The oil tasted like nothing I ever had before. So rich and OH SO GOOD! OKAY OKAY ARMANDO! I Believe you NOW! I'm going home to throw out all the oil in my tiny apartment cause it's rancid since it's been on the shelf forever and exposed to light for long periods of time. I will only buy EVOO in small quantities and NEVER cook with it.. not that I really do anyway. Why not cook with it? Well, talk about taking out all the nutrition from a food. Dead food = dead body folks! Don't over cook your veggies and certainly don't cook with EVOO. Sorry Rach! But then what to use it for?
Well T-Kizzle..lol.. was amazing in this demonstration which basically was more like a tasting. click the menu below!
I mean...Thomas Keller is brilliant. Let's just get that out of the way. We all know it and the 5 morsels that I tasted is now in the top 5 meals I have ever had. The use of the oil in each taste was so different yet prominent each in it's own way. Kristin, my fairy-photographer, couldn't stop giggling about how brilliant it was. Bravo Señor Keller. Bravo. Not that that means anything from little gay me... but I mean to have the gays on your side is to have the world on your side! No?
So, I said I was a gay cook who just wants things to be fabulous and was it! Well DUH! I mean I don't need to tell T-Kizzle that he's fabulous cause the world knows that. As from Armando, he was born fabulous cause he's Italian! What makes him more fabulous is that on a quest to be the best Daddy he can be (not that kind gays), he spent a lot of time and energy (Did I mention the oil is tested every 4 to 6 months by the University of Florence?) to create something so pure and healthy just for his boy that just happens to be the best olive oil EVER!! And for a mere 46 euros ($67.00) this could be yours too that is if you order from his website Manni.biz . If you think about it you have to use two to three times the amount of the fake EVOO we get here in America to even match what comes out of a Manni bottle right? So monetarily it evens out! Williams Sonoma will also carry it but it goes fast folks so jump on it!!
Look at the pretty bottle it comes in!
Lastly, I need to thank the wonderful people of Williams Sonoma for inviting me to this amazing event, Amrmando Manni for schooling me on the finer things in life, Thomas Keller for being brilliant and inspiring and Kristin Donnelly for taking a good photo! Speaking of good photos if Manni needs to put a gay face to their oils I am ready for my close-up!! Just look at the photo below! Grease me up baby! I'm ready!
The Gay Gourmet!™