Maia’s London Chef Birthday Party

While I was in Hawaii I was co-organizing a dinner party for my BFF Maia’s 29th birthday (all birthdays from now on are a 29th just FYI) with Christine ( at The London Chef.  The plan was a private evening of demonstration and interactive cooking at the fabulous teaching kitchen downtown on Fort St.  We had a full complement of 12 food admirers who rolled in for a super fun evening fueled by tasty morsels and vino.

The table was gorgeous!

This chunk of reclaimed wood makes the most amazing table to sit at with all your friends.

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My cupcakes kind of ended up sucking because I couldn’t pipe creamcheese icing.  Pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting.  Go local Canadian flavor!

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Nothing like a Vanessa Watters rose centerpiece to make a girl feel loved 🙂 (  They smelled AMAZING!!

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I have to say it doesn’t hurt that the chef isn’t hard to look at.  The birthday girl and her mentor.

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Lots of fun hanging about before our evening of instruction.  Christine, Carter and Troy.

The space is beautiful with 6 stations to cook at.  With 12 of us we filled the joint.  Here Mike and Paul are contemplating the evening.  Paul looking infinitely more stoked than Mike at this point.

So the evening started with some demonstrations.  We started with a very simple scallop dish, some Spanish tapas, then beef heart and finally chicken livers.  Hmmmmm…..

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Scallops… I am all over that.  Gimme more please.  No you can’t have the platter back.

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Beef heart.  Has the same consistency as octopus.  We had it seared.  Once is enough for this cowgirl.

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Chicken livers in cream sauce.  I like the sauce.  I can take or leave chicken livers (and pate in general) although I did give it a go.

In the future I will continue to throw out all the guts when I am cooking.

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Scott, on the other hand.. was very much enjoying his chicken livers and totally missed the photo moment 🙂  I was back to the wine at this point.  My favorite was the Spanish tapas staple of Catalan toast where we took a warm toasted half of a bagette, rubbed it with tomato insides and garlic then toasted it before topping with Serrano ham.

Second highlight was the bread with the aged Parmesan and onion jam.  I am so making onion jam.  I think I might really just enjoy bread and anything.

So we were then dispatched to cook the main event.  Lobster.

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Tammy was up front and center to learn how to kill a lobster humanely before you eat it.

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I was in charge of preparing our animal because Paul said there was not way he could do it.  I was all over it.

So once we had cut the lobster in half and cleaned it we then chopped it into about 5 pieces and scored the claws. Into warm pan went chopped onion, shallot, garlic, chopped tomato and olive oil. A large pinch of fennel seeds was added and I have to say if I did it again I would also add some chopped fennel bulb to this recipe.  I added a large pinch of red chile peppers, salt and some pepper.  Once all that stuff is cooked some tarragon went in but in the future I would use basil or something else because tarragon is a sucky herb that I don’t really think is any good.  Then in went the lobster, some cream and some freshly chopped parsley.  Add more warminess to the dish and voila!

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Christine and Scott master partners….I went around peeking at everyone else’s pans to see what they were up to.

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Tina and Carter won best executed…

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Maia and Troy won best looking couple…


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Paul pretty proud of the fact he cooked that meal 🙂

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I have to say the magnum of 2003 Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir I dusted off from the cellar for the evening couldn’t have paired nicer with the meal 🙂  Birthday girl approval.

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We like to play with our food.

Cheers!!  Bill ( always has a zoolander pose.. can you spot him?

Love.  🙂

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