Last night a few of the Source staff were invited to the amazing facility at the Cascade Culinary Institute for an evening demonstration from three of Bend's finest culinary minds. Click here for a list of ongoing Bite Week events.
Steve Helt, executive chef and owner of Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails, Juri Sbandati, executive chef and owner of Trattoria Sbandati and Matt Neltner formerly of Kokanee Cafe in Camp Sherman and current executive chef and owner of the newly opened Blue Pine Kitchen and Bar took turns demonstrating how to cook up their own delicious specialties for a small crowd of drooling onlookers.
First up was gnocchi (pronounced ni-o-ki) in a tomato basil sauce from Juri Sbandati. The rustic Italian pasta-like cheesy potato bites were light and tasty smothered in red sauce that Sbandati cooked up in the biggest frying pan I have ever seen. He explained the pan is straight from the kitchens in Italy.
Next up, you guessed it! Frog legs, a staple on Blue Pine's menu grilled by Matt Neltner who said the inspiration for the dish came from living in Camp Sherman and hearing the frogs ribbit in the quiet mornings. A mix between fish and chicken with a creole-type rub, the legs were grilled to perfection. Despite feeling a bit strange about eating a frog's downstairs, I still licked my plate clean.
Last, was an amazing seared tuna from Steve Helt of Zydeco. The fish was fresh and delicate, Helt explained that as most of the fish at his acclaimed downtown restaurant, the portion had been flown in that day from Hawaii. On top of a vinegar marinated cucumber salad, the fish was fresh and delightful with the perfect quarter inch sear, a dark pink center and a sesame crust.
Now that you're sufficiently drooling all over you keyboard, or smart phone, or whatever...I'll remind you that Bite of Bend takes place this weekend! Delicious food as seen above abound!