Monday, November 16, 2009
Michael Symon is the Real Deal
Of the line-up of celebrity chefs doing demos at the Fabulous Food Show, the most appealing to me this year was home town favorite, Michael Symon. For the record, I have yet to dine at his restaurants, but I will definitely remedy that very soon.
I did purchase on pre-order at Amazon, Symon's new cookbook, 'Michael Symon's Live To Cook' and I was very impressed when it arrived. He included several of his restaurant signature dishes, including one for fried brussels sprouts, which he demoed at the Food Show.
In addition to the Brussels Sprouts recipe, he also did a recipe for a pasta dish using leftover turkey. It looked (and smelled) pretty awesome. He did a mini sports trivia at the beginning and invited the winners on stage to eat the recipes he demoed. One of the winners was a girl who was celebrating her 10th birthday; her dad answered the last question correctly and sent her up and she was beaming.
He was definitely enthusiastic to be playing to the home town crowd. His mom and his 91 year old grandfather were in the audience and he acknowledged them to a nice round of applause.
Here he is doing a pretty funny demonstration of how not to use a knife. He also made fun of garlic presses and showed how easy it is to 'press' garlic with a sharp whack of the side of a chef's knife.
His demo was fun to watch. He was engaging, provided some good info, and you could tell he was clearly enjoying himself.
I was at the show Friday when two other Food Network stars were signing their books. One of the chefs I don't particularly care for their style, show, or recipes. The other chef I was ambivalent about, but I had time to kill, and the signing was supposed to start at 5:00 pm, so I bought a book, and got in line.
Star #1 was enthusiastically signing, hugging, and mugging for photos until the last person in line got through, probably a good half an hour past the scheduled time. Even though I am not personally a fan, I definitely respected that she was giving her all for the fans.
Star #2 was almost a half an hour late and was due on stage in about a half an hour by the time he arrived. Looked freshly massaged or awake from a nap. There weren't a lot of us in line, but he looked like he wished we'd burst into flames and disappear. He barely acknowledged anyone, forced a few fake smiles for photos when pressed, but for the most part, snatched the books, scrawled the same thing, and never looked up.
I got a photo - from about two feet away, and I look like I'm stalking him. So ambivalence has turned to contempt. I suppose some people can get by on their good looks. But seeing what someone is truly like in person, well ugly, is ugly. 'Ultimately', I am no longer a fan. And I won't be buying any more of his books, his expensive cookware, or visiting his cookware store in California. (I think that's enough hints to figure out it was Tyler Florence. Oops, did I say his name?)
Michael Symon on the other hand, was mugging with fans, laughing that laugh that makes everyone else laugh, and made it fun to go through the line to meet him. You can't fake that kind of personality. Michael Symon is the real deal.