Grilled prosciutto-wrapped dates is one of four dishes chef Jamie Gwen will prepare during a July 28 virtual experience.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY JAMIE GWEN
Your backyard is about to become very popular. The flavors and aromas from the recipes chef Jamie Gwen will share in a virtual demonstration on July 28 will have your neighbors peeking over the fence or knocking at the door for a free sample.
Gwen’s appearance marks the second Palm Desert Food & Wine virtual experience this summer. The first, a cheese and wine pairing by Afrim Pristine, took place July 14. To purchase a ticket for Gwen’s demo, click HERE.
Both Gwen and Pristine will appear in person at the 2022 edition of Palm Desert Food and Wine, and tickets go on sale Aug. 1.
Grilled Peaches are on Jamie Gwen's lineup for her demo.
While Covid drove many of us indoors, Gwen took her culinary skills outdoors. The California native loves the sizzle and smoke of grilling, and you can watch the four dishes she has lined up for the demonstration become enhanced by the outdoor cooking process.
“There's something really wonderful about flavor from the grill,” Gwen says. “Certainly, proven is the fact that if you fire up the grill and start grilling, those aromas start to spread out and attract people around you. At the same time, during the pandemic or otherwise, there's something wonderful about being outside, in nature and alfresco. There's an ease to it, a comfort and a relaxation, for me personally. It's different than cooking at my range or using my much-loved appliances. I think the outdoors really lends itself to that comfortable, casual feel of a meal.”
Gwen will prepare grilled prosciutto-wrapped dates, bourbon & brown sugar cedar planked salmon, grilled mustard potato salad, and cinnamon grilled peaches with vanilla bean ice cream & sea salt caramel. As part of your ticket pitches, you will receive the recipes for each dish to dazzle your family and friends at home.
“it's all about knowing the tips and the tricks and the secrets to achieving big, bold flavor,” Gwen says. “Once people make those recipes their own, they become their signatures. I guarantee that everyone will want to come to your house to eat.”
Gwen chats more about the demo, where her passion for cooking originated, and how the pandemic has shaped her philanthropic endeavors with Palm Springs Life.
The pandemic shifted live demonstrations to virtual — what was the biggest adjustment for you, and what do you have to keep in mind when you are preparing a dish online and how to engage your audience?
I've had the privilege of 22 years on national television now, and almost 20 years on the radio. The shift to virtual allows me to interact with my audience. I love the connection through the computer, almost more than through a TV camera in a studio. I think there's something really special about a virtual cooking class. If I can't be with you in person, I really embraced the opportunity to cook along with my friends, followers, and fans virtually. There's very little you can't do. I think that the screen "does inspire great cooks to notice color" and to try to build the plate visually and artistically. I really work to create vibrant color in my dishes, paying attention to more colorful ingredients more than ever.
Who inspired you to become a chef, and what did they say or do that resonates with you still today?
I grew up sitting on the counter in the kitchen, my mom, who is the most extraordinary woman I know, raised me single-handedly. Now that I am a new mommy, I have an even greater appreciation, respect and admiration for my mom. I grew up around food. I don't remember everywhere we went when I was a child, but I remember much of what we ate. Food was always a celebration in our house. My mom celebrated with food, it was a connection, and it was how she showed love in so many ways. I learned to love food and cooking from her. It was a creative outlet for her and it has become that for me as well.
I definitely became a chef from an ever-growing passion from childhood. Today my mom is my biggest fan. She's always inspiring me to create new dishes and blend new flavors. She's still an exceptional cook, more specifically a baker now. It's really a blessing for me to have an opportunity to cook alongside with her. Together we share our family love of food with my son, to see him learn to love food and to be adventurous experience the smell and taste of food. It's really a beautiful sensory appreciation.
Was this a career path you could have predicted for yourself, or did you expect to be in an entirely different field? What has kept you motivated?
I love food and I love sharing what I do. I'm very driven to always learn more, to grow my business, and to continue learning, that's really what motivates me in my daily life. I did not expect to be a chef. I had considered law school, but I landed on television very early, and it's been a wonderful blessing for me. I successfully achieved a bachelor's degree at 40 years old, because I believe it's never too late. And, who knows? Maybe law school someday down the road. Lots of late nights snacks to be made for that plan, right?
Jamie Gwen will prepare bourbon and brown sugar cedar planked salmon.
You re-released your digital cookbook during the pandemic and pledged to donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to the Covid-19 emergency relief fund. Give us some highlights of the book and what has it meant to you to contribute to the relief fund?
It was my first digital book, after many cookbooks proudly in print. It's a lean and clean cookbook. The recipes are full of fabulous flavor, but they're healthy, very health conscious. Myself, I eat like this, but I do believe in everything in moderation, and I'm all for indulgence. My days are not without chocolate cake.
At the start of 2020, when we're all looking to lean out a bit or after an indulgent holiday season, it was the perfect timing for the book. Then the pandemic hit, and I really wanted to share the cookbook. I was raised with philanthropy; I do a lot of charity work. I think it's immensely important. This is the small way that I could make a difference.
I'm very proud of the donations that we've made over the year and a half. Albeit small, in the grand scheme of things, but to support restaurant workers and restaurateurs, and those that suffered tremendously at the start of the pandemic. Today, there's still COVID relief that needs to be attended to. Supporting those in the industry has been very heartwarming for me. I'm very grateful that my friends and followers have supported the digital cookbook venture.