Seattle Foodie Empire Honoree: Som Kesa

Good food has no boundaries
— Som Kesa, Foodie Empire Honoree
 

It has been a labor of love for several years now and I'm so happy to introduce another video on the brilliantly talented Som Kesa. Som's cooking is hands-down, at the top of my list of best food I have tasted anywhere. I am so grateful to Som and her husband Larry for opening their home to us for many meals and experiences, and I am also grateful to Meg for being there and bringing her creative talents to make this feature happen too. Finally, to Jim and Michele as always for their creative inspiration and partnership. This was a great experience for me, it brings back many happy memories, and I hope you enjoy this feature on Som in addition to the other stories we've done on her! 

Foodie Empire Honorees: Rob and Donna Dughi

It’s so easy when your friends are so great.
— Rob and Donna Dughi, Foodie Empire Honorees
 

I am thrilled to showcase Seattle foodies Rob and Donna Dughi! I not only love how they live downtown so are able to walk to Pike Place Market for all of their ingredients, but I also love all of their amazing stories about their travels that includes the cuisine they've feasted on and the people they've met along the way... It is an honor knowing Rob and Donna as they are so generous with their friendship and so welcoming to everyone... I hope you enjoy their feature!

"Big, Messy Spiralized Bowl" by Meme

Spiralized Zucchini, Daikon Radish, Shredded Carrots, Brown Rice, Tofu marinated in Coconut Aminos, Avocado & Sesame Seeds, Beet Hummus & Seaweed, all on a bed of Marinated Kale

Beet Hummus: 2 small roasted beets, 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained), juice of 1 lemon, salt & pepper to taste, 2-3 cloves of garlic (smashed), 1 tbsp tahini, ¼ c olive oil.

Blend roasted beet (skins removed) in Vitamix or food processor until only small pieces of beets remain. Add remaining ingredients (minus olive oil) until smooth. Slowly stream in olive oil until desired consistency is obtained. Taste! Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Superfood Chocolate Bites by Meme

Milk Chocolate Base plus toppings of Raw Pumpkin Seeds, Dehydrated Watermelon, Roasted Pistachios, Cranberries, Jacobsen Sea Salt

Melt Trader Joe's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks, sprinkle Raw, Organic Cacao Powder while melting and add Jacobsen Salt Coffee Flakes as the Finishing Touch on the Superfood Bites

Som Kesa's "Easy Entertaining Thai-Style" Cooking Class

Congratulations to Som Kesa who has begun offering cooking classes to her fans! Most recently, Som held an "Easy Entertaining, Thai-Style" class in her home for ten people. The group made potstickers, a side dish made from leftover potsticker filling, red chicken curry and black rice pudding with coconut cream for dessert.

Som will continue to have updates on future classes but in the meantime, you can also have Som's dishes delivered to you through Lish. Find her offerings here at this link

MasterChef Amanda Saab's Lovely "Bake a Naked Cake" Class

 Seattle MasterChef Amanda Saab and the "Bake a Naked Cake" Class

Seattle MasterChef Amanda Saab and the "Bake a Naked Cake" Class

It has been an incredible honor working with such amazing people this past couple of months for two recent events, one of them being the Pop:Luck, and the other was "Bake a Naked Cake" with Seattle MasterChef Amanda Saab. This was such a great class because of everyone involved. A special thank you to the Amazon employees in attendance! We also had people drive up from Renton and Tacoma, and a newlywed couple who were just adorable.

Amanda is a true star in our city and is one of the loveliest people I've ever met. She is driven, has a huge heart, and wants to bring beautiful things to the world. Amanda and I met a few months ago through social media and I did a blog post on her post-MasterChef life. We kept chatting and then met in person over coffee and to talk about our dreams! We have so much in common and I loved her passion so I knew immediately I wanted to work with her somehow. A few discussions later, we came up with the "Bake a Naked Cake" class and started working to make it happen.

Being a team with Amanda was nothing short of brilliant and I respect her hard work and creativity so much. She executes on plans quickly and always thinks of ways to make things the best they can be. Thank you Amanda for teaming up with me for this class it was an honor! Stay tuned for other projects from the two of us. I also want to give recognition to other friends including Amanda's husband Hussein, Andrea Gillis, Meme Montemayor, Preeti Mehta and Josh Grob for helping out with the event. Everyone rolled their sleeves up to make sure the preparations were done, that guests were taken care of and that things ran as seamless as possible, including doing dishes, sweeping and cleaning! Thank you to all of you!

Teamwork

Sponsors Fred Meyer and Simple & Crisp

A big shout-out to Fred Meyer and Simple & Crisp for sponsoring our class at Zoe Events! And to Scott and Heather Staples who have a truly beautiful venue to have an event in. 

Now on to the sweetness: Vanilla Bean Cake with Buttercream Frosting filled with Citrus and Berry Filling as well as edible flowers!

Pre-Event Preparations, Goodie Bags from Fred Meyer and Snacks

Class Begins

Decorating

Fun!

Cakes

We hope everyone had a lovely time and we look forward to keeping in touch! To follow Amanda and the latest in what she's up to, you can "Like" her Facebook page or follow her Blog

(May 8, 2016) Fun Post-Class Tidbit: A Naked Cake for Mom on Mother's Day!

Mother's Day "Naked Cake" from Amy Ginther

What an incredible testament to Amanda's class and the joy it brought people.... The mother of student Amy Ginther loved Amy's cake so much, she requested one for Mother's Day, which Amy happily made for her.... :-)

Thank you so much to Amy and your mom for continuing the Naked Cake journey and sharing your story!

(As a side note: You can make a sheet cake, then use a round cutter to get your individual, round cakes. Amanda used this product, which we sent to Amy too for her Mother's Day cake.)

A "Magical" Evening ~ Our Pop:Luck

PopLuck at The Kitchen by Delicatus in Pioneer Square

It has been quite the week of reflecting back on what was a very meaningful evening for me; Our first Pop:Luck at The Kitchen by Delicatus in Pioneer Square. The evening was described as "magical" by several guests, including Artist Ten Hundred, who did live painting at the event. It's feedback like that, that makes all of the work even more special and I am grateful to everyone who came to the dinner! Your support of this new concept means so much and I will always remember this.

Tonight was magical...
— Ten Hundred
 (from l-r) chef brandt bishop, meme montemayor, artist ten hundred, me, james riemer (not pictured, santa maria who was a part of the team too!)

(from l-r) chef brandt bishop, meme montemayor, artist ten hundred, me, james riemer (not pictured, santa maria who was a part of the team too!)

A special thanks also to Chef Brandt Bishop who created an amazing 5-course, family style meal that everyone raved about, to Ten Hundred for his 6-hour live painting session, and Santa Maria Rivera who provided brilliant music. Also to James Riemer at The Kitchen by Delicatus for being a genius team member with helping me plan and execute on everything. James is a true, first-class professional and I highly recommend booking your event at The Kitchen with him. Meme Montemayor is a friend with similar business interests (we're currently working on a project together) who rolled up her sleeves to work and make the evening wonderful too (she also did this for MasterChef Amanda Saab's Bake a Naked Cake class).... Jim and Michele McCarthy are my friends and partners who have been here every step of the way, nurturing the creation of a meaningful project like this. This is a group of people I am so grateful for and want to continue working with! Thank you to everyone for coming into alignment to make the Pop:Luck special for our guests! xo

I was basking in the glow the rest of the weekend... The warmth and openness of all the people I talked with, all the amazing food, the beautiful table and space.
— Guest Preeti Mehta

How the Pop:Luck Came To Be

A lot of people ask about how the Pop:Luck came to be so I'd like to share that with everyone. One day several months ago I was walking with my son downtown near Pike Place Market, and we stopped by the Four Seasons landing on 1st to take pictures of the Great Wheel. I never really paid attention before, but on this particular day, the gorgeous empty space of Vespolina, which is right there, jumped out at me and I thought, "Wow, that beautiful space and it's just sitting there empty." At the time, I was also wanting to bring a different type of event to the city. So what clicked in my brain was that we should be occupying empty spaces like this for events that involve food, art and music. I started researching other empty restaurants and putting together a high-level plan that would involve a series of taking over these empty restaurants throughout the summer. Then I started networking. Fast forward and I met with the wonderful folks at the Downtown Seattle Association who really backed this and wanted to help bring to life. (A special mention to Andi Pratt, who was with DSA at the time, who I mainly worked with and was wonderful.) Andi made the suggestion that they have all of these other empty buildings downtown too, waiting for demolition, that could be interesting spots as well. I thought this was even better, the thought of resurrecting these dead spaces and turning them into something great before they're gone forever. We kept moving forward. But then you get to reality and reality just made this too difficult to tackle right away. (Ah-hem, all of the permits it would take plus the cost.) Yes, I tried to think of creative ways around the multiple permits... And in a discussion with Jim and Michele, it was discovered that "Potlucks" are one way to escape some of this! So it turned into the thought of "Potluck, PopUps in these empty spaces with art and music too... Cool!" But still, there were too many roadblocks. 

We wanted to resurrect empty spaces in downtown Seattle awaiting demolition by holding “Potluck, PopUps” in them throughout the summer.

I still loved the idea of integrating a potluck into the mix somehow.... But knew we now needed to pursue this in an already established and permitted venue. At this time, the word, "Pop:Luck" was born and I found The Kitchen by Delicatus. 

I couldn't have asked for a better evening and we have interest from everyone for more. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos below of the evening. Thank you again to everyone for being a part of this super evening.

(Oh! And if anyone is interested in pursuing the "empty spaces" idea, send me a note and we'll chat.)

Tulips from Pike Place Market for the Table

The Evening

(From L to R): Chef Brandt working his magic, Recently retired player for the Seattle Sounders Cam Weaver, more Chef Brandt, Friends and Supporters Andrea Gillis, Preeti Mehta and me, The Table

The Atmosphere

Ten Hundred's Finished Piece

If you have any questions or want to know about the Pop:Luck, then please reach out to me! 

Seattle Foodie Empire Honoree Geoff Kann Episode

It is an honor to finally showcase the amazing Geoff Kann and his culinary talents through his feature, shot at his home in West Seattle (with a cocktail outing or two as well)! We cherish Geoff immensely as this is where Foodie Empire began; My vision to tell the stories of brilliant home chefs and how they create beautiful meals for loved ones. As I began looking for foodies to highlight, Geoff was the first one to take a chance on the venture and say "Yes!" thanks to his friendship with Meg Andrews who introduced us and helped organize his episode. If you haven't met her yet, you will also get to meet Rebecca Staffel who is well-known in the Seattle food scene. Rebecca provided the voice-over talent for this episode, along with lots of good insight on picking wine and hosting a Wine Tasting at your dinner party.

I also want to give a shout-out for the musicians in this episode, including Danny McCarthy, who wrote the theme song for "League of Legends," Seattle DJ Yung Futon who created an extensive, custom mix for the series, and Bazile Mills out of Omaha whose lead singer, Dave Mainelli, has been a friend of mine since Grade School. Other band member Tim Rozmajzl and his wife Katie have been friends since High School.

Thank you to everyone for the collaboration, including Jim and Michele McCarthy for whom this series wouldn't be possible without. They have been key to making this happen and have an amazing way of igniting the fire within you to unleash the best of you through beautiful products. 

Thank you so much Geoff and Rick for opening up your worlds and sharing it with all of us! Now on to his magic, which features a gorgeous meal including steaks cooked with a blow-torch! (Yes, you must see this...) xo  

How to Choose Wine for a Wine Tasting at Your Dinner Party via Dinner Guest + Friend Rebecca Staffel

I hope you enjoy Geoff's episode and smile at his amazing talents... Thank you again Geoff and Rick for opening up your home to us, it is truly an honor getting to know you! You can see more on Geoff on his dedicated page here.

Up next, I'll be working on Seattle KEXP Leon Berman's episode which features him creating quite the feast for football coaches and their families! Catch a sneak peek here.

Seattle Top 5 Patio: The New Branded at Almquist Family Vintners is Stunning (Easily Amongst Seattle's Most Beautiful)

Seattle weather is at it's most beautiful right now... The perfect time to visit the outdoor Wine Garden at the new Branded at Almquist Family Vintners. This location is absolutely in my Top 5 most beautiful for wine on the patio, and it's open for business. One of Seattle's hottest up-and-coming chefs, Brandt Bishop, has created a lovely menu for bites, including Smoked Cod Crostini with Cilantro Salsa Verde and Pickled Onion, Fresh Columbia City Focaccia with Bone Marrow Butter, and Kusshi Oysters on the Half Shell. The full bar downstairs, including the Greenhouse, as well as the upstairs wine bar will officially open to the public in June with an expanded menu.

The Branded Wine Garden is Open!

 The outdoor Wine Garden at Branded sits on a beautiful property overlooking the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

The outdoor Wine Garden at Branded sits on a beautiful property overlooking the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

A Peek Inside: Homemade Vinegars and Fresh Spices

The Branded Greenhouse (The Roof Opens for Sunny Days)

The Wine Garden at Branded is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 to 4. Branded is at 198 Nickerson Street (if you were a patron of the former Hommage or Book Bindery, you know where to go!)

We'd also like to invite you to be a part of our POP:LUCK with Chef Brandt, Artist Ten Hundred doing live painting and DJ Santa Maria with some smooth spins, Saturday, June 30 at The Kitchen by Delicatus. It's going to be a fantastic evening that fuses food, art and music. Tickets are available now including VIP tickets for a private Happy Hour with Chef Brandt before the dinner begins. Expect a gourmet, 5-course meal with fresh spring ingredients. Get your tickets here!