Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thanks to our gracious hosts, Food Network, we had plans to board a Yacht in the afternoon with Melissa d'Arabian. She was the winner of Season 5 of The Next Food Network Star and now hosts her own show, Ten Dollar Dinners. Her promise is that all you have to spend is $10 to feed a party of 4.
It was a beautiful afternoon in Miami. We set sail on a private yacht with a breath-taking view. The waters were a gorgeous blue that was brilliantly enhanced by the sun. Slowly we left port and began sailing away from the city. We left all our worries behind that afternoon.
Who needs a post card when I had the chance to snap picture perfect shots of the city and islands. There was a small box available at the deck where everyone convened. They had a table/station set up near the stern. Ms. Lin and I knew that there must be a demo later. It was very interesting to see Fennel up-close. I've probably only seen it thinly sliced in my food and have never seen the whole vegetable 'till that day.
Before the demonstration we were introduced to Melissa d'Arabian. She is such a wonderful and amazing person. After meeting her you can feel her genuine sweet personality and as soon as you meet her you could tell that she has tons of star potential! Who wouldn't be enamored by her delightful character after speaking with her. We had a wonderful discussion with her of how she entered this new profession. She started out in marketing and different parts of life has ultimately led her to enter the contest of The Next Food Network Star. With the support of her wonderful husband and children, all this would be possible.
Here, I have a little teaser/preview for my followers to see Melissa d'Arabian in action. She is able to draw the crowd in with her knowledge and personality. Her little tips and secrets are very helpful. I'll definitely never look at fennel the same way after this. She makes sure that no part of the ingredient goes to waste. Watching her work and watching her show is not only a learning experience but an exploration and inspiration.

Her recipe of Fennel and Cabbage Slaw was amazingly refreshing. I've never tried cole slaw made with fennel as the main ingredient and stay under a budget! The crisp texture and flavor of the fennel brought the slaw to a whole new level. After the entertaining demo, for which I filmed the entire time, we were seated to start lunch where we would be able to taste her creation.
Lunch was buffet-style and served below deck. Even though the sun was out and beating down there was quite a chilly wind in the air. Still, we sat in the shade because I rather not get tanned. I save our seats and sent Ms. Lin to grab the food. O=9 They served Seafood Salad, Fennel & Cabbage Slaw, Herbed Chicken, Guacamole, Cold Cuts, Fresh Fruits, and more. The seafood salad was a bit on the bland side but that could be overlooked for the sheer quantity of seafood that was in the salad... Until I found a huge/long hair embedded in my salad... BLECH! That was it for me.
For the most part the food was just okay. I was already getting pretty hungry as the demo was 30-45 mins long and it was getting closer to 2 o'clock. Still, I was not willing to eat my plate after finding hair in my food. I told the servers and they took away my plate. There were not the most friendly but they did offer to bring me a new plate at east. Since I wouldn't want more of the seafood salad since it probably came from the same batch. I asked for more chicken and just mango. Little did I know how wonderful the mango was! My previous plate was taken away before Ms. Lin was able to warn me that she put most of the mangoes on my plate.
Woe as me! The mango was fabulous and I only got a little bit on my second plate. The worst part was there were no more mangoes left. =*( At least the new batch of chicken they gave me was moist and tender. The ones they served in the buffet were super dry. I don't know why but I always hit the jackpot and find stray hairs inside. Guess I need to go out and buy a lottery ticket, huh? lol
For dessert they served Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Chip Cookies served on the deck. Ms. Lin and I had a nice long chat with Alice. At the end when we were docking, I got Melissa d'Arabian to sign our recipe cards. She even remembered my name and gave both of us a hug before parting ways. I really cannot describe how great splendid she is. An example to show how sincere she is in her actions would be when I was walking around the Grand Tasting Village the next day, someone grabbed my arm to stop me. To my surprise it was Melissa d'Arabian. She told me that she saw me and wanted to say hello as well as give me a hug! Now that is one genuine fantastic person. She had no obligation to acknowledge or greet me, but she went out of her way to talk to me. I will sing praises of her to everyone and it is quite clear that she is a star. Watch her show! O=9


Melissa said...

I love the pictures! that was a fun afternoon, wasn't it? made me want a yacht of my own (with a captain and crew to manage of course...I wonder if my girls would be willing to give up a college education so I can fund my dream of relaxed luxury?). :)
and ugh about the sorry about that. I'm completely grossed about by that too! I barely had a chance to try the catering myself just because I seemed too busy to sit down and eat the plate my husband made me, so I guess that makes two of us who were hungry! :)

Kat said...

Thanks Melissa! It was a pleasure meeting you and spending the afternoon on the yacht with you.

That does sound like a nice dream, but it's going to be hard to convince your girls to give up college. One can always dream!

Aww that is too bad you went hungry, but I understand since you were high in demand that day. ^_^ The good news is you didn't eat from the hair batch. The best thing was trying your great recipe of Fennel and Cabbage Slaw. Your family is lucky to have a wonderful Mom like you who is so loving, sweet, and can cook! Mmmm.

Hope you and your family had a wonderful weekend! If you are ever our in California look me up, I'd love to be your tour guide! ^_~

Ms. Lin said...

It certainly was a fun day on the yacht and meeting Melissa was definitely a highlight! :) I've been craving a fennel and cabbage slaw ever since then. I still ate the seafood salad that day since there was no hair in mine - LOL (I know it came from the same batch but out of sight, out of mind!)

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