Macy’s Culinary Council featuring an Iron Chef AND a Top Chef Judge

Macy’s Culinary Council and cooking demonstrations by two top chefs; featuring Marc Forgione and Michelle Bernstein? Say what???!!  This was all new to me till I got news of this event through Everywhere.  During this event, both Chefs shared Nespresso infused recipes that have been created for Nespresso’s Grand Chef Rendezvouz at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

Here is a little background: Macy’s Culinary Council is made up of a group of top chefs (Lots of the who’s who in the TV culinary world; Rick Bayless, Cat Cora, Todd English, Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai and more).  These chefs hosts cooking demonstrations at Macy’s stores as Macy’s ambassadors.

As for the chefs, not much more that I can say that has not been said for a gazillion times.  But in case you do not know; Chef Marc Forgione is an Iron Chef (from Food Network’s Iron Chef America).  For such a young chef, his accomplishments are jaw dropping – he has worked under great chefs in France & New York, earned the much coveted Michelin Star for his restaurant in NYC, listed in the Zagat, and more… (Read more here).

Chef Michelle Bernstein has appeared in Top Chef series as a judge.  She is well known for her Latin cuisine (she is of Jewish and Latin descent) and also James Beard Award winner.  Unlike Chef Marc Forgione, she started off as a dancer who eventually discovered her passion in cooking and has worked in award winning restaurants in Miami.  My favourite fun fact bout Chef Michelle Bernstein is that she had emerge victorious against a battle against Chef Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America!! (Read more about  Michelle Bernstein).

Now that we got the mandatory introductory out of the way, here is what the Nespresso cooking demo is all about:

Started off with a sign in process, which was not as smooth as I expected considering this is not the first cooking demo hosted by Macy’s in their kitchen.  However, I appreciate how everything was set up, we were close to the chefs so it felt more personal:


First off, to kick of the event is the President of Nestle Nespresso USA with a quick 5 minute speech on Nespresso – being one of the official sponsors of the America’s Cup 2013 held in San Francisco.

Then the chefs were introduced by the emcee (who I think did a fabulous job with his little cheat sheet).


Now on to the cooking… Chef Forgione prepared “Alex’s Swordfish”.

Nespresso Rosabaya de Columbia crusted swordfish with Rye crumbs fennel kraut, grain mustard and wild juniper.

The dish was a play on pastrami on rye with sauerkraut. To be honest, I have never has pastrami on rye so I cannot attest to how this is in comparison to the real deal.  However, I have to say – it was tasty!!! The fish was served tataki style,  which was very lightly seasoned with a nice smoky coffee crust.  The fennel kraut was delicious and very addictive, and was definitely a great complement to the fish.

He was such a great person to watch cook – very down to earth, extremely expressive and was great about providing random tips on how one should always cook “their food”.  Cooking should be about expressing ourselves in the food and not tied to just recipes.  It definitely helps that he is so pretty to look at!

Next up:

Chef Bernstein prepared “Chocolate Chorizo Cremeux“.

Rich chocolate cremeux with a hint of chorizo, with locally sourced Pluots in Nespresso Decaffeinato Intenso Sauce, Cocoa Nib and Nespresso Ristretto Streusel.

Her dish was extremely rich – well balances and not intensely sweet.  It is not just any chocolate mousse but intense and comforting at the same time.  The tangy pluot and sauce was a nice way to cut through the rich chocolate.  The chorizo was so subtle, I would not know to look for it if I didn’t watch her prepare the dish.  And not to forget, nespresso streusel? What not to love.

Chef Bernstein has to be one of the most personable chefs ever! She came off as super-fun, approachable and intensely passionate about cooking.  She talked about being blown away by the local produce and how she fell in love with Bi-Rite.  How can you not love this woman?

There was also a raffle –  4 Nespresso machines and 2 signed aprons were given away! I was soooo jealous of the winners but I walked away with this awesome signed apron so I shall not complain.

My goodie bag; with a recipe book for all the dishes that will be prepared during the Chef Rendezvous, a Macy’s gift card and some Nespresso coupons.


I still can’t believe I have never heard about these cooking demos, I mean, we were all aware that this is all about promoting Nespresso products. But that said, there was no hard sell or any pressure to purchase anything.  The chefs shared what they did with the products but it didn’t feel like this was a sales pitch or that they were insincere about how they feel about what they were using.

It was just interesting to be so up close and personal with these chefs, whom I have watched on TV and wondered what their food would taste like – and here I am getting a nice sample of the dishes and watching them cook right in front of me!  They were very open to questions although we were all a bit starstruck and just hanging on their every word like they were gospel. *sigh*

All in all – a great way to spend the evening.


Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Culinary Council.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

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