Last Tuesday (Oct. 12), I entered the Guilde Culinaire for the In Foods evening with Chuck Hughes event. I was greeted by the energetic and friendly Cheria Kyres, the owner and creator of In Foods Inc. After that I was greeted again by Mayssam Samaha, from Will Travel for Food who helped organize the event. They make pita crisps through their In Snax product line, but this night was to introduce foodies to their new In Cuisine frozen mashed potatoes. I will get to both of these soon.
Wine was served, mingling was in order, and all eyes were on Chuck Hughes, the owner and chef of Garde Manger and star of the hit Food Network show, Chuck’s Day Off. I had some time to chat with him throughout the night. He is very down to earth, and always wants people to have a good time no matter what they’re doing. We spoke about some of the challenges he faced when he first started to film his show and how he got used to the whole TV star thing (the show is airing in 20 countries!), his opinion on how families cook for kids as they grow up, and also about family meals when he was a child. Overall, Chuck is a great chef with a big heart who loves everything about life. Great to finally meet him.
So onto the food. For hors d’oeuvres, we sampled crispy samosas that were generously spiced, potato blinis with caramelized onions, a sweet and spicy cauliflower and chorizo soup, and some of In Foods’ pita chips with hummus and beet dip. Everything was very tasty. Good start to a great night.
There were two dishes that were prepped for us to assemble during the night along with a cooking demo. The first was salmon tartare, that came with a variety of add-ons such as chives, shallots, and capers. After everything was combined, we scooped it out of the bowl with our In Snax pita chips. It was very fresh, and was a great contrast in texture with the multigrain chips. After that, Chuck and his sous chef for the night cooked some delicious scallops for our next dish. Using In Cuisine’s new frozen mashed potatoes, he plated the scallop on top of them along with some lardons, carrot puree, and chives. Initially when I think of frozen mashed potatoes, I think of those dry powdered ones that come in TV dinners. When I tried the In Cuisine’s version, they were absolutely amazing. You can’t tell that they were frozen. Just like the salmon tartare, we assembled this dish ourselves. This was a big hit. Perfectly cooked scallops, salty lardons, soft mashed potatoes, and sweet carrot puree: simply delicious.
For dessert, a miniature strawberry crumble topped with fresh whipped cream were served in small paper cones, and an apple compote and mascarpone cream were gently placed on cinnamon and sugar pita crisps. Both were very good. A sweet taste for the end of the night.
I was very flattered to be invited to such a great event. I had an incredible time, met some great people, and ate some wonderful food. In Foods has a very tasty line of products. Their pita crisps make a great snack food, and I’m amazed at how good the frozen potatoes taste. They are a definite buy in the grocery store.