Friday, May 12, 2006

Chicken is Power

Here I am in the kitchen of the Marriot Marquis helping make Willie Mae Seaton’s famous fried chicken for the James Beard awards. (I'm on the left, doing the breading.)

We didn’t get the elusive recipe – she prepared the batter earlier in the day under super-secret conditions, but we battered and fried about 3500 chicken wings to serve to the guests at the awards.

I manned the table for a while and we were SWAMPED – as soon as the award ceremony finished people made a beeline for our station (they’d been studying the food station map in their program) and we were cleaned out in minutes. We quickly learned one important lesson – Willie Mae’s fried chicken = power. People would trade just about anything to get special access to our chicken. We spent the night well stocked in Café du Monde beignets and champagne.

While we waited for reinforcements from the kitchen, I snapped a few photos. Here’s Ming Tsai’s butt. (I’m a little shy about asking for photos, but I’m not afraid to snap ‘em when people aren’t looking.)

And a sculpture by none other than the Ice Man himself, who showed up in leather pants and seemed to have a special fondness for my one of my classmates.

The party was enormous, the champagne flowed freely, and we stayed out WAY too late. Class the next morning was a bleary and miserable experience, especially because I had to kill and dismember some lobsters, but the experience of serving fried chicken wings to Florence Fabricant, Emeril Lagasse and the Ice Man doesn't come along every day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fried Chicken is DEVINE-hope you used trans fat free oil...have you ever tried rice bran oil...the best!!!

2:04 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Well it certainly sounds like something quite fabulous to be a part of! Fist-deep in chickeny-goodness, mmm.

Aside from that... love the cheeky shot there! I'd likely be too shy as well.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm dying, i wish i had a chance to swing by your station for those wings!!

4:04 AM  
Blogger amandamonkey said...

Those wings sound AMAZING - glad you had such a good time!!

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, no! Kill and disemember a lobster? ;-(

Looks like you had a great experience at the Marriot Marquis. Cool!


7:58 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

AAAH! Mebeth that is soo cool!!! I'm so excited for you! Holy moly, you're on your way girlfriend.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

What a cool site (i've been lurking for a while), plus I'm not too fond of raisins either. WOW, how exciting to cook an event like that....lucky ducky.

3:17 PM  

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