The Food Truck League Launches Finder App

If you’re like me, one of the struggles with food trucks is figuring out when and where they will be. You need to hunt each one down individually on their various social media platforms.

The Food Truck League has launched an app that displays truck locations in real-time. This localized Utah app already has the largest amount of scheduled truck locations on any app in the country. During peak food truck season users can now find as many as 100 truck locations each week throughout the valley.

Food trucks have become a recent sensation in Utah, with over 100 trucks operating every day. This app gives users access to all the information they need to find and support local food truck businesses. Potential food truck customers no longer need to rely on word of mouth or sporadic social media posts to find their favorite food truck. They can now locate a truck with the click of their phone.

The Food Truck League Finder app has a litany of features that allows users to see upcoming roundups, follow a specific truck’s future schedule, or even request catering with their favorite truck. Use the map feature to find trucks near your location, or scroll through a list view showing all of the trucks scheduled for a selected time frame. Additionally, food trucks can use the app to provide periodic prizes and special offers.

“People are excited about food trucks — they love the concept, they love the food and they love the sense of community,” says Taylor Harris, a founding partner of the Food Truck League. “From the beginning, the goal of the Food Truck League has been to bring great food and communities together. We knew we needed a way to bring all the information we have to the community, and this app finally allows us to be able to do that in all the ways we envisioned.”

Holly with The Cluck Truck explains, “It can be frustrating as a new small business when people love your food truck, love your food, but your business can’t grow because your customers can’t find you. The Food Truck League Finder app makes it so easy for our fans to track when we’re near them so we can keep growing.”

The app is available now on Android, iOS, and online at thefoodtruckleague.com/events.
Throughout the spring and summer food trucks will offer promotions for any customer that presents the app on their phone upon ordering.

Sunday Gospel Brunch at The Gateway

Taking another big step toward establishing itself as a social, community-oriented downtown hotspot, The Gateway is kicking off a Gospel Brunch starting Sunday, April 9. The Gateway’s Gospel Brunch, held at the Grand Hall every other Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature a Bloody Mary bar by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and music by the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, a performance group that tours the country. Local favorite Cubby’s Chicago Beef will offer their new unique spicy-beef-and-garden-fresh breakfast items, with beverages provided by 3 Cups Coffee. Future dates are April 23May 7 and 21, 2017.

Tickets are $19 each for brunch and an additional $6 for two drinks at the Bloody Mary bar, with additional drink tickets at $3 each. Proceeds will benefit Downtown SLC Presents, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting cultural and artistic experiences in downtown Salt Lake City. http://bit.ly/gospelbrunchgateway.

“Salt Lake City has a really cool food scene, so we wanted to do something different, with a lot more soul,” says Edie Trott, marketing manager at The Gateway. “We wanted to fill up Sundays with as much life as we could, so getting a gospel brunch together felt like a great way to kick it off.”

In addition to the brunch, The Gateway will also be hosting a series of free events starting in May, including yoga on Sundays, a concert series on Thursdays and a family movie night on Fridays. The Gospel Brunch marks another step in The Gateway’s ongoing initiatives to both revitalize itself and establish itself as cultural hub.

“We’re seeing so much momentum around The Gateway right now,” says Jason Mathis, executive director at Downtown Alliance. “As they continue their re-brand, they’re adding a lot more to their programming, and we’re excited to see what the summer holds for them. The gospel brunch is something we’ve been excited about for a while, and a big step for downtown Salt Lake City.”

Unity Gospel Choir

Easter Specials

Spring has sprung, and we just got two inches of snow last night, so that means one thing: it’s time for Easter. And along with Easter comes easter dining specials. See below.

Café Niche

Café Niche on 300 South is offering some mouthwatering Easter brunch dishes from Chef Andy Morrison’s kitchen on Sunday, April 16 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Specials include an entrée selection of Crab and Avocado Strata: a savory baked egg and bread custard with roasted cherry tomatoes and arugula for $15. Carrot Cake Cheesecake with house made ginger syrup and candied walnuts join other dessert selections for just $8.

Chef Morrison’s focus is on offering farm fresh dishes with amazing flavor. Selections are offered la carte from her brunch menu of traditional breakfast dishes, small plates, fresh salads, hearty sandwiches and desserts. Highlights include a hearty Biscuits and Gravy with house made cheddar jalapeño biscuits, sausage gravy and two local free range eggs any style ($10); the Wild Mushroom Scramble with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, eggs, arugula, lemon vinaigrette, balsamic reduction and pecorino cheese ($12); or the Niche Breakfast with bacon or sausage, toast, two fresh eggs, and two of the following: hash browns, sautéed spinach, half avocado, sliced tomatoes or fresh fruit.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., Niche starts mixing mimosas and Bloody Marys. More adventurous diners can choose Adrian’s roulette cocktail. Guests choose a spirit and whether they would like something refreshing or spirit driven and are pleasantly surprised with new taste treats.

Caffe Niche is located on the corner of 779 East and 300 South / 801-433-3380 http://www.caffeniche.com / Facebook: CaffeNicheSLC

Current Fish & Oyster

Current Fish & Oyster welcomes the onset of spring and Easter. Current is extending brunch hours on Easter Sunday April 16, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will be closed for dinner that evening. Current’s bright and urban patio boasts the blooms of the season and will be seated for Easter dining, weather permitting.

Special Easter brunch offerings from Current’s kitchen include: ham and Zursun bean cassoulet with farm-fresh local egg; light and delicious spring vegetable hash; local trout and spring vegetable niçoise; or a chopped lobster salad with fresh spring greens and a lemon tarragon vinaigrette.

Brunch highlights include “for the table” offerings of East and West Coast oysters, shrimp cocktail, house lox and ricotta doughnuts. Diners can enjoy traditional or crab benedict, a delicate seafood cobb salad or hearty shrimp and grits, along with omelets, buttermilk fried chicken, French toast or pancakes or the Un-Common burger, one of the best in town.

The $6 Mimosa bar is available at 11:30 a.m. featuring fresh squeezed juices of orange, white peach, strawberry and pear. These join brunch cocktail selections of an oyster shooter, Bloody Mary, Irish Coffee or a refreshing Current Radler with Sierra Nevada hefeweizen, ginger liqueur and grapefruit juice.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 801-326-FISH (3474) or visiting www.CurrentFishandOyster.com.

Bambara

Bambara welcomes guests to their Easter brunch on Sunday, April 16. Special holiday offerings include a one-of-a-kind oyster bar, hearty carving station, made-to-order omelet station, and a wide variety of decadent pastries and desserts.

Brunch will be available 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m. with a special Easter evening offered 5:30 p.m.—8:00 p.m. Bambara’s historic bar, The Vault, will be open 11:00 a.m.—8:00 p.m. with a unique selection of specialty cocktails. Reservations are highly recommended.

The brunch menu, including coffee, juice and soda options, costs $54 for adults, $44 for seniors ages 65 and older, and $14 for children 12 and under.

“A meal on Easter Sunday is such an important tradition for family and friends,” said executive chef Nathan Powers. “We enjoy relieving our guests of the pressure of hosting at home and welcome them to come celebrate with us instead.”

For more information about Bambara or the Easter brunch celebration, contact Christa Graff, of Graff Public Relations, LLC, at 435-640-7921 or christa@graffpr.com.

Oasis Café

Oasis Cafe on 500 East will serve an Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 16 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and will be seating on their beautiful courtyard patio, an urban oasis, weather permitting. The buffet will include the popular prime rib carving station and a chocolate fountain for dessert. Cost for Adults is $35 per person, children age 13 and under $18 and is free of charge for children under the age of 3.* Reservations are highly suggested and can be made by calling 801-322-0404 or visiting OasisCafeSLC.com.

Dinner will be served from 5 until 9 p.m. with the creative daily menu filled with local organic vegetables, sustainably ranched meats and freshest seafood, the buffet is a favorite with locals.

Oasis Cafe is located at 151 South 500 East in downtown Salt Lake City. Reservations can be made by calling 801-322-0404 or by visiting http://www.oasiscafeslc.com. Hours are Monday-Friday 7:00 -8:00 a.m. for coffee and pastries, then 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.. Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Park City Dining

APEX AT THE MONTAGE DEER VALLEY
Buffet, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
$55 for adults, $25 for children ages 5-12
Enjoy the fresh, regionally inspired selections for a delicious Easter Sunday brunch.

BILLY BLANCO’S
Egg hunt and Easter Bunny, starting at 1 p.m.
Note: Taking place Saturday, April 15
Even the Easter Bunny can’t resist this raved-about destination for “Motor City Mexican.” Meet the Easter Bunny, fill your baskets with candy- and toy-filled eggs – and be sure to keep an eye out for golden eggs with special prizes. The event is BYOB, for “Bring Your Own Basket,” and while you’re there, be sure to check out Billy Blanco’s burgers, tacos, salads and much more.

DEER VALLEY RESORT
Special menu items
The award-winning restaurants at Deer Valley Resort are serving a range of specials to celebrate Easter. At the Deer Valley Grocery~Café, enjoy scrambled egg toast with Cabot white cheddar, asparagus, baby heirloom tomato, chives, Niman Ranch ham and fresh arugula on toasted wild rice harvest bread. Royal Street Café is serving rosemary-rubbed lamb chops with mint chimichurri, roasted heirloom baby carrots and herbed fingerling potatoes. And the Snow Park, Silver Lake and Empire Canyon restaurants are serving hot cross buns, featuring spiced, enriched dough and dried fruits, crossed with cream cheese frosting.

GRUB STEAK
Buffet, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
$32.75 for adults, $16.75 for children ages 12 and younger
Grub Steak is serving a delicious brunch replete with Easter favorites and Grub Steak classics. Enjoy selections like boneless leg of Utah lamb, slow-roasted angus beef, eggs Benedict, herb-baked cod, country link sausage, Applewood smoked bacon, roasted lemon chicken, pulled prime rib sliders, cheese blintzes, shrimp quiche, deviled eggs and grilled salmon filet. Cheeses, pastries, breads and fruits will also be on offer, plus a cereal buffet for children and Grub Steak’s famed salad bar and fruit bar.

HIGH WEST REFECTORY
Buffet, 10:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
$35 for adults, $17.50 for children 12 and younger
The dining room at High West’s distillery will be open Sunday, serving its delicious weekend brunch. Reservations are recommended and can be made at OpenTable.com. Complimentary tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will also be on offer, and the tasting room and general store will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

J&G GRILL AT ST. REGIST DEER VALLEY
Buffet, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
$70 for adults, $40 for children 12 and younger
J&G Grill is serving a lavish buffet featuring char-grilled Wagyu tri-tip, Caprese eggs benedict, smoked salmon rillettes, pate, lavender-scented French toast with blueberries, golden beet and orange salad with arugula and fresh ricotta, sautéed baby squash and mushrooms, smoked cheddar potato gratin, house-made granola and fruit parfaits, petite pastry and dessert displays and more. Champagne, mimosas and St. Regis’ famous Bloody Mary will be on offer, and a children’s egg hunt will be held on the slopes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

POWDER AT THE WALDORF-ASTORIA
Buffet, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
$49 for adults, $24 for children ages 3-11
Everything from donuts to slow-roasted buffalo tenderloin is on offer at Powder’s delectable Easter brunch. Enjoy more than a dozen gourmet selections, including honey glazed ham, to egg frittata, French toast, smoked bacon, chicken sausage, charcuterie and cheese, a trio of salads, soups, a raw bar with shrimp, oysters and sashimi, fresh fish and vegetables, a bakery display with banana bread, pumpernickel, croissants and Pullman brioche, and a selection of desserts from the pastry shop.

RIVERHORSE
Buffet, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$65 for adults, $35 for children ages 12 and younger
This raved-about restaurant is serving a sumptuous brunch with classics like eggs Benedict, a lamb carving station, housemade meats, omelets made to order, seafood, signature desserts and a special kids buffet. A special Easter Dinner will also be served from 6 to 9 p.m.

SQUATTERS PUB & BREWERY AND THE WASATCH BREW PUB
These two locals’ favorites won’t be serving Easter specials, but “hop on over” for their raved-about brunch fare plus their $2 Midday Marys, Mimosas and Eye Openers.

STATE ROAD RESTAURANT
Buffet, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
$25.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 2-12
This Kamas staple is serving a range of Easter classics, from eggs any style, buttermilk biscuits, maple sausage links and Applewood bacon, to a carvery with house-smoked Black Forest ham and aged prime rib. Rock shrimp, peeky toe crab cakes, smoked Shetland salmon, a range of breads and fruits and yogurt and granola will also be on offer, plus red velvet cake, carrot cake and cookies for dessert.

TUPELO PARK CITY

Sticky toffee waffle, spinach and feta tart, warm asparagus toast, deviled eggs. Sounds like a menu I could get into. Reservations made via OpenTable or by calling (435) 615-7700.

 

Oasis Patio with Diners
Courtesy Oasis Cafe

 

We Olive Salt Lake City

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Step into We Olive in Trolley Square, and be prepared for an education. On a recent visit, franchise owner Stephanie Ennis and her son, co-owner Josh Garcia, took time to walk me through various olive oils, allowing me to taste and pick up on the various nuances of each one. Stop by, and they will be glad to do the same with you.

Just like cheese, wine, and chocolate, tasting olive oils properly involves a few steps. Pour a small amount into a cup. Step 1: Swirl. Cover the top to trap the aromas, and rub the cup against the palm of your other had to gradually warm the oil and release the flavors and aromas. Step 2: smell the oil. Step 3: Slurp it into your mouth, incorporate oxygen to further enhance the taste. Step 4: Swallow.

According to Josh, the three things you want to taste for with olive oil is the bitterness, the fruitiness, and the robustness (high-quality olive oils contain high levels of oleocanthals, which tend to create an urge to cough. The more “robust” the oil, the more likely you are to cough after tasting). I tasted a few different types of arbequina oils, and could instantly pick out tropical notes such as banana in one, while the other arbequina was much more mellow and one-dimensional. Thus, tasting is key.

All of We Olive’s oils are sourced from family farms in California, as opposed to other olive oil companies in Utah who source theirs from Tunisia. We Olive knows their farmers, and understand the provenance of their products.

One of the struggles of the olive oil industry is the lack of consistent regulation and certification of what makes olive oil “olive oil” and what makes extra virgin “extra virgin.” While there are rules in place, there is no international enforcement body to ensure the rules are followed. Josh and Stephanie pointed out that olive oils need to be consumed within 18 months of pressing the olives in order to preserve the taste and health benefits before the oil turns rancid. But large conglomerates of olive oil producers (those kinds that you will likely find in grocery stores) frequently hold olive oils for much longer, and have been known to blend in other types of non-olive oils into their olive oils in order to increase the shelf life. All of this done, of course, without disclosing anything to the consumer.

We Olive also has a wide selection of various balsamic vinegars; some produced in California and some in Modena, Italy. They have the straightforward balsamics, and also have some more outside the box varieties, like mission fig, peach, pear, and blackberry. No artificial flavors are used in these vinegars, rather, fresh purees are blended in. My personal favorite combination was their pineapple balsamic paired with their jalapeño olive oil. It would go perfectly on a fruit salad or as a unique vinaigrette for a salad. They sent me home with a bottle of their mission fig balsamic vinegar, which I used to make balsamic-glazed pork chops over polenta with wilted spinach.

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Venture towards the back of the store and you will find the We Olive wine bar, where you can sit at the bar or a table and taste various wines alongside some delicious food. I was able to taste their cheese and charcuterie plate, featuring Creminelli salumi and prosciutto, a dish of stuffed African peppadews, prosciutto-wrapped dates (my favorite), an orchard salad, as well as a cheese and garlic flatbread. Josh is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, and has worked in various chef roles at the New Yorker and other Gastronomy restaurants, so attention to detail with food at We Olive is a high priority. Various reds, whites, rosés, mimosas, and beers are available, including local producers Ruth Lewandowski, Proper Brewing, Mountain West Cider, and Talisman Brewing in Ogden. They plan to open their patio as soon as things warm up this summer, allowing diners to sip and dine while people-watching Trolley Square shoppers.

Josh and Stephanie are also building out a strong selection of local food producers for their grocery section, and currently carry Slide Ridge Honey, Four Sisters sauces, as well as various local pastas.

The next time you’re at Trolley Square, stop by, say hi, and ask them to take you on a tasting tour. You’ll learn more about olive oils and vinegars than you thought possible. And stay for a sip or two. And be sure to check out their events page which features various cooking demos, tastings, and other events.

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I was an invited guest of We Olive. Opinions are my own.

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Restaurant Supply

I know it’s weird, but I love going to the restaurant supply store. Those of you who have been understand me 100%. Those of you that haven’t: it’s time to go. ASAP. It’s kind of a secret that these places exist; most people either think they’re only open to restaurants and other wholesale entities. Another misconception is that you need to buy in high quantities. But that’s not true (at least for many of the supply stores).

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I stopped by Standard Restaurant Supply and took some shots of my favorite supply store finds–most of these are considerably less expensive than what you’d find in other “fancy” cooking stores.

Have you been? What are your favorite finds? Let me know in the comments.

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Preview: Alamexo Cantina

During his travels throughout Mexico, Chef Matt Lake, owner of Alamexo, most enjoyed eating at the vibrant local cantinas. These open-air restaurants, some more boisterous than others, emphasize community and togetherness as friends and families gather around tables to share in various freshly-prepared dishes.

These memories have informed Matt’s latest culinary project: Alamexo Cantina, opening in May in the 9th and 9th neighborhood. The cantina will be the lower-key little brother to Alamexo, keeping the same attention to ingredients and the cooking process, but trading white tablecloths for bottles of cerveza and a six-foot comal.

I stopped by to taste some of Matt’s planned dishes for the cantina. I would expect nothing less than exceptional from Matt, and judging by these test plates, he’s well on his way towards that goal.

Alamexo Cantina, opening mid-May

1059 East, 900 South, Salt Lake City.

Fig Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops with Polenta

I have a  love/love relationship with balsamic vinegar. I can’t get enough of it. Fruity, tangy, and sweet, it is a perfect accompaniment to numerous types of food. If you’ve only tried it with bread at your local Italian restaurant, I’d encourage you to give it a try on pork, chicken, and even ice cream.

Like wine, the taste and quality of balsamic vinegars depends on the source of the ingredients and the process used to transform them into a vinegar. Balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico tradizionale) starts its life as white grapes, which are pressed and the resulting juice is reduced down to 30% of its original volume. This reduction, called the must, is then placed into wooden barrels and left to age for a minimum of 12 years and for as long as 25 years (!!!).

I stopped by the newly-opened We Olive Store and Wine Bar in Trolley Square. I will have a profile on them later, but the short story is that they specialize in selling California olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I brought home a bottle of one of my favorites that I tried at the store: the mission fig balsamic vinegar. This vinegar is less tangy and more sweet, thanks to the addition of the mission figs, and I figured it would go perfectly with some pork chops.

Fig Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops with Polenta Cakes and Wilted Spinach

Ingredients

1 tube of precooked polenta (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)
4 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 4-ounce portions of boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed
1 10-ounce bag of spinach

Put the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and let it cook down about 1/3 of the original volume to concentrate the flavors (don’t go much more than that or you will have a syrup that’s too thick). Once cooked down, reserve the vinegar for later.

Place pork chops in a baking dish, cover each chop with olive oil, rosemary, some kosher salt, and black pepper. Turn the pork chops over and repeat.

Preheat a cast iron skillet and 2 tablespoons canola oil (or other high-temperature oil like grape seed) on medium-high heat. While it’s heating up, remove the polenta from the tube and cut them into 1/2 inch thick disks.

Place the polenta cakes into the skillet and cook until browned on both sides. Once cooked, put on a paper towel to remove excess oil from the cakes.

In the same skillet, place the pork chops and cooked to your desired temperature (I generally cook my pork chops to 135-140F). About a minute before they’re done, use a spoon or pastry brush to coat the pork chops with 1/2 of the reduced balsamic vinegar.

Pull the chops out a few degrees before they hit your desired temp (they’ll keep cooking due to residual heat). I highly suggest a quick read digital thermometer like the Thermapen to gauge meat doneness. No more overcooked proteins, and no more guess work.

While the pork is resting, dump the spinach in the same skillet and cook down to your desired doneness. Throw in some salt and pepper to taste.

Place a couple polenta cakes on your plate, top with a pork chop, and put the spinach on the side. Drizzle any remaining balsamic vinegar over the pork, and garnish with fresh rosemary.

Serves four.

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Taste Utah TV Series Highlight Park City Restaurants

The Park City Area Restaurant Association (PCARA) is announcing their partnership with the Utah Restaurant Association (URA) to create twelve new episodes featuring Park City restaurants for the Taste Utah TV series.  Taste Utah is an interactive dining guide featuring innovative videos of the best restaurants in Utah. The series currently focuses on dining options in Northern, Wasatch Front, and Southern regions of the state, and will soon be joined by segments dedicated to greater Park City.

“We are honored to partner with the Utah Restaurant Association and participate in the Taste Utah TV series,” said Ginger Ries, executive director of the Park City Area Restaurant Association. “It is a welcomed opportunity to showcase our region’s world-class dining among incredible company in the restaurant industry across the state.”

A new Taste Park City section of Taste Utah is now accessible on tasteUT.com and  showcases 30 PCARA and URA members in four of Park City’s distinct dining districts: Historic Main Street, the Resorts, Prospector, and Kimball Junction. Each 4-6-minute episode follows hosts Katy Sine and Jami Larson to select restaurants. The duo interviews owners and executive chefs for an insider’s view on the history and vision of the establishment, along with behind-the-scenes tours and cooking tips for signature dishes from the kitchen. The interactive dining guide gives consumers the opportunity to explore the dining culture, find new dining destinations, and see what they can expect at each restaurant. Food enthusiasts are encouraged to share their dining experiences by posting their favorite restaurant photos to Instagram using #tasteParkCity and hashtagging the restaurant’s name to be featured on the Taste Utah website.

“The Taste Utah TV series provides a unique platform to promote our state’s diverse dining scene,” said Melva Sine, executive director of the Utah Restaurant Association. “We are thrilled to feature so many of Park City’s award-winning restaurants that help elevate Utah’s reputation as a must-visit food destination.”

Episodes 1-5, featuring Tupelo, Ritual Chocolate, Shabu, Glitretind, Bakery at Windy Ridge, Riverhorse On Main and The Brass Tag, have already been filmed and will be available on tasteUT.com. Upcoming Taste Park City episodes include:

Episode 6 (March 4): The Farm

Episode 7 (March 11): Silver Star Cafe

Episode 8 (March 18): Red Rock Brewing

Episode 9 (March 25): High West Saloon

Episode 10 (March 31): Cafe Terigo

Episode 11 (April 7): Myrtle Rose

Episode 13 (April 21): Yuki Yama / Wasatch Brew Pub

Audio Interview, Chef Dana Herbert

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As part of the grand opening of their brand new store at the Fashion Place Mall, Macy’s brought in Chef Dana Herbert to give a cooking demonstration and share some recipes from his new cookbook, “Sweet and Savory Union.” Chef Dana is the winner of TLC’s show Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker.

After his demonstration, I was able to chat with Dana for a few minutes to discuss the Macy’s Culinary Council, his cookbook, and ask him if he could only have one small appliance in his kitchen, which would it be?

Hit play below to listen to the interview.