As a foodie, who’s also picky with her food and was likely a food critic in her after life, I jumped at the opportunity to sit on a panel as a taster for Couture Brunch Team’s upcoming Chef Off competition called “Bon Vivant”. Couture Events is a small Brooklyn based promotional company that focuses on creating fun and festive events that not only brings social networks together, but allow patrons to enjoy cuisines at their finest. Their summer event will feature 2 chefs’ preparing an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for guests to indulge in, with a mixologist creating 2 signature drinks to pair with each meal. I had the honor of sitting on a panel with 4 other food lovers, including Erica of Catering by Elberta (Formerly of Elberta’s restaurant), and giving feedback on some appetizers and entrée choices from each chef.
The first appetizer we tried were Asian styled chicken wings from Chef Dell. I love a good chicken wing and the sweet and tangy sauce on these tasted amazing! They were sprinkled with sesame seeds which added to the overall taste. One of the main criticisms that was heard across the panel was the chicken not being hot enough, temperature wise and an expectation of something different as an appetizer, since you can get wings anywhere.
The next appetizer was a watermelon-jalapeño salad by Chef Lisle. Let me just say, that when I heard the name, I was a little skeptical. I love watermelon, but jalapeños? I wasn’t sure about how this would turn out. As the chef placed some of it on our plates, he then topped it with some pop rocks. Yes, Pop Rocks! The little firecracker candy from when we were just children. You could head the pop rocks start to fizzle as they sat on top of the watermelon. I was still skeptical about what I was getting into, especially with the addition of Pop Rocks, but immediately after the first bite, I was sold. The sweetness of the watermelon paired perfectly with the jalapeño and the pop rock gave it this extra Kick (literally) in your mouth that had me scraping my plate for more after it was done. The pop rocks added a unique sensory experience because you could hear it and feel it at the same time. This was by far my favorite dish of the night.
Next up was the main courses, in which both chefs prepared salmon. The first one was an alaskan salmon with a sweet glaze topped with shredded zucchini, and sitting on top a bed of rasta pasta prepared by Chef Dell. The salmon was crispy on top just as I like it, and the glaze really gave it a kick of flavor. The cold zucchini on top really balanced out the flavors well .But the star of the show was the pasta, which was creamy and delicious, with a little spicy kick to it. Everyone raved about this pasta, and one panelist even suggested it could be a separate meal on its own. I’ve had many varieties of rasta pasta before, but this one was packed with so much flavor, and just paired so well with the glazed salmon.
The next salmon dish, by Chef Lisle, was sitting on top of a bed of fingerling potatoes and bok choy, and topped with some type of peppers. The presentation on this entrée was so great that I was almost afraid to dig my fork in. This salmon had a very different taste to it and wasn’t as crispy as the first, but the flavors from the bok choy and potatoes really added on to this dish.
After tasting each dish, all of us tasters were able to give the chefs constructive criticism and useful feedback about what we liked and what could use some change. Both chefs received our feedback well and will use it to prepare for the competition which will be taking place on July 9th at 23 Meadows Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn. This event will give patrons an up close and personal experience to learn about the featured appetizer and entrée, and will also feature music and vendor booths. For more details about the “Bon Vivant” event and their other monthly events, follow them on Instagram at @courturebrunchteam.