Taking This Show on The Road

Edible Garden

Honestly, I have no idea how this happened, and in many ways it still feels like an odd dream that I will wake up from at any given moment.  Until that time comes, I suppose I can reveal to you that, on July 31, I will be giving a cooking demonstration on stage at the New York Botanical Garden, as part of their Edible Garden exhibit that runs from now through October 17.

As the driving force behind The Best Food Blog Ever, I receive a lot of food-related emails throughout the week.  Many are from marketers and public relations folks, letting me know about the opening of a new restaurant or the availability of a new product that would be of interest to my readership.  So, when I received an email from the New York Botanical Garden telling me about their Edible Garden series, I initially thought it was just an announcement, and that I was one of hundreds of others on an email distribution list.  As I read through the rest of the email, though, which talked about how chefs like Rick Bayless and Mario Batali and Sara Moulton would be taking to the stage to give cooking demonstrations, I reached the final paragraph, which began with this sentence:

“We hope that you will be interested in doing a cooking demonstration this summer or fall.”

I admit, I had been skimming up to that point.  Reading that made me rewind to the beginning to review the entire message more carefully.  Martha Stewart.  Lidia Bastianich. Rick Bayless.  Dan Barber.  Mario Batali.  Me.  Something doesn’t quite fit here, and here’s a hint – it’s not Rick Bayless.  And yet, there is no mistake – the New York Botanical Garden is extending the invitations to a handful of food bloggers in this, the second year of the Edible Garden series, and I’m one of them.

Saying yes to this wonderful opportunity has kicked off a series of weird-to-me-ness that won’t stop until it culminates in my cooking demonstration on July 31.  The New York Botanical Garden needed a headshot, which I had to scramble to produce, considering the only profile photos that I have here are blurry (and I am drunk in all of them).  They asked if I wanted to promote my book, which I would love to, but I don’t have one.  They even asked me if I needed a prep chef, which is so many kinds of awesome that it almost makes me want to make something uber-complicated just to have someone chop stuff for me.  I get to play on stage with a Viking range, Anolon pots and pans, and an entire pantry of ingredients provided by Whole Foods.  It’s like Top Chef, only I get more than five minutes to come up with what I’m making.

I’m beginning recipe testing this week, and the good news is that I only need to come up with two or three dishes that are appropriate for the stage and which will provide samples for the audience.  Soup is one of them, I know for sure.

For those of you who want to come out and meet up, my stage times are at 1pm and 3pm, and July 31 is a Saturday.