Last week we were invited to a private event with Marcus Samuelsson and Blue Star Appliances.  The two have recently joined forces to promote restaurant style cooking at home.  It couldn’t have been better timing because we’re designing a kitchen for a client who loves to cook and entertain so much that she takes it to a professional level.   Forget about the usual bangs and whistles, her must  have in the kitchen  is a salamander.  I do love to cook, but to be honest, before her request I had never even heard of a salamander.  That’s because they’re generally reserved for commercial cooking, giving meat and fish that sizzling, finishing touch.  After our meeting I got on the Internet and started my search only to find that A) THEY’RE HUGE (not ideal for pretty designs) and B) they’re not approved for residential use. Finally I spotted the Blue Star salamander, the only professional quality device approved for residential use and found the invite to their event in my in box the same day.

In addition to being a total sweetheart, Marcus can cook.  He is a Top Chef Master, has competed against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, stars on a few of his own tv shows and prepared a state dinner at Obama’s White House honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  We were walked through the preparation of a four course meal and given invaluable tips along the way.  Two of my favorites were: when shopping for fish, tell the vendor you’re making sushi and they will walk to back and come out with an entirely different grade than what’s on display- without an additional charge.  Since “we”  don’t cook with non stick coating because it’s toxic, to prevent food from sticking, make the pan as hot as possible so you hear a serious, sizzle sound when the two make contact.  We’ve tried this one on our Viking stainless and it does work.

The food was fab (surprisingly large portions) and I really enjoyed his green message: stay home and cook to enjoy fresh, well made and happy food.