August 27, 2020
By April Diederich, RDN, CSR
In partnership with the CSUN Alumni association, the Marilyn Magaram Center hosted a virtual Tapas & Wine culinary experience on August 27th that featured three recipes and two wine varieties. During this virtual “Happy Hour,” Chef Harold Avila demonstrated culinary techniques and Certified Sommelier, Sean? Van Straatum, provided a sensory wine experience with the goal of teaching participants how to feel like professionals in the kitchen.
While preparing the first recipe, Gambas al Ajillo, Chef Avila demonstrated how to properly devein shrimp and highlighted the MMC’s Spicy Matador, which paired nicely with these Spanish shrimp tacos. While making Pan Con Tomate, participants learned how to quickly rub fresh garlic onto toasted bread to create a small bite that is big on flavor. For participants who wanted to improve their plating skills, Chef Avila taught how to cube ingredients to make the perfect bite of Watermelon Feta Caprese.
Sommelier Van Straatum, provided wine pairing recommendations to go along with the recipes, and participants had the opportunity to explore the look, smell, and taste of each wine to appreciate it as more than just a beverage. Jordan Helo, a participant of the event, shared more about her experiences: “I was excited from the moment I received the invitation in my inbox and even forwarded it to a few fellow matadors. It was fun to receive the shopping list in advance and shop for items I didn’t have in my pantry. The prep instructions were helpful, so that I could really focus on and follow the chef during the event itself. The food turned out great. I even ate the tomatoes (which I usually avoid). The cherry on top was sitting back and enjoying the meal while learning about wine from someone who was warm and knowledgeable.”
Stay tuned, as more virtual cooking and beverage workshops are planned throughout the year with the CSUN Alumni Association!