There is a secret treasure hiding in plain sight at a Publix near you, that you may not even know about!
It’s called the Publix Aprons Cooking Schools. No, I am not talking about the pop up kiosk inside of the store where a Publix associate happily cooks you up samples of the weeks featured menu item.
I’m talking about an actual fully functional kitchen perched high up above the ground floor of your beloved grocery store. That’s right! Publix has a second story! To top it off, there are only nine of these kitchens in all of Florida, and we are lucky enough to have two near us. One in Boca Raton, and the other in Plantation. Which is where I was.
Now, truth be told, I had already been here a few years prior so I was well aware of its existence. The reason for this most recent visit was because I was invited to a very exclusive cooking event where Miami Dolphins legends would be give live cooking demonstrations!
This unique experience is one of the exciting events leading up to “JOHN OFFERDAHL’S BROWARD HEALTH® GRIDIRON GRILL-OFF FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL” It offers you a chance to spend an intimate time in the kitchen watching your former Dolphins, play on a different kind of field. Alongside Chef Rey De La Osa the Dolphins alumni get to pick a meal of their choice, that they want to cook in front of you!
But before the main event even starts, you are offered a glass of something bubbly! Now that’s the way to win me over. By the way, If you look behind me you can see Publix below in the window.
The “classroom” fills up quickly as only 40 lucky people get to participate in this very intimate setting.
Once Chef De La Osa welcomes us to his kitchen, he starts things off by telling us they will be showcasing two food dishes before we even get to the celebrity chefs choice. To top it off, there will be a wine pairing with each dish. Woo hoo! Let the food parade begin!
The first thing delivered to my table was grilled sweet chili and garlic wings topped with toasted macadamia nuts paired with a Kendall- Jackson chardonnay.
Followed by Plantain Crusted Mahi Tacos with a mango chutney paired with a Kendall-Jackson Pino Gris.
As you will notice the recipes accompany each dish. For convenience sake, all the ingredients can be purchased on your way out to your car. Much like the gift store after the Disney ride, everything is right there for you to take home.
There really isn’t a bad seat in the place as the tables are on two levels and there are also TV monitors above the stove.
Being able to watch those helps you to understand how to prep your food the way the chef does. He also gives lots of helpful tips that may make cooking at home a little bit easier.
So three drinks and two meals in, we were ready for the celebrity chef. The night I attended, delicious “Super DUPER” Lamb Chops were being served up by Miami Dolphins #85 Mark Duper ! It was “super” cute to see how excited (and nervous) he was preparing his favorite dish.
Not only was his dish surprisingly good…he delivered it to the table himself!!!
The Cambria Pinot Noir paired perfectly with the lamb, roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes made with his special ingredient….garlic butter.
Of course no meal is complete without dessert. Especially when it is a grilled pineapple cobbler with fresh whipped cream and a glass of sauvignon blanc.
After the dinner, Mark “Super” Duper presented Resident Chef at the Plantation Publix Aprons Cooking School, Chef Rey De La Osa, with a signed Miami Dolphins Jersey.
Unfortunately they didn’t have one that fit me.
Once the tables had been cleared and people started to leave. Mark was gracious enough to talk to each person that came up and took a photo whenever someone asked. What Dolphins fan doesn’t love that kind of one on one interaction???
FYI, next week’s chef #52 Channing Crowder snuck in to shamelessly scout his competition so you truly don’t know what other players are going to show up.
Even though at this event the players cook their own recipe, at the Grid Iron Grill Off they are at the mercy of what the chef they are paired with picks. However, that doesn’t seem to matter to these competitive guys as they both insist they are going to win. The #GrillOff2016 is heating up!
It should be noted that Chef Rey De La Osa, who was paired with #57 Dwight Stephenson and will be again this year, did win last year with a dish that has a name that sounds like a swear word even though he assured me it is not.
So what are you waiting for??? To make the deal even sweeter…Cooking Class Attendees to Receive VIP Access to the Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival on November 12. Remember class is only open to 40 people.
Get your tickets now http://www.gridirongrilloff.com/