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Last week, I was privileged enough to attend a VIP event – #IdahoPotatoCutsClass – (with 19 other lucky social media influencers!) at the Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection, in Tampa, Florida, with Famous Idaho Potatoes and #SundaySupper. “VIP” is an understatement, friends … what word is higher than VIP? Whatever it is, that is how we were treated!
It’s always been a dream of Don Odiorne‘s to bring bloggers, brands and Idaho® Potato together, for a special event centered around knife skills, food safety, and creative ways to use said potatoes, for us to share with our own readers.
….and that is exactly what we did! Beyond the French fry, or baked potato, how many other ways can you think to prepare a potato? I always personally loved any sort of stuffed potato as a kid. But really the possibilities are pretty much endless!
Before we could begin learning in the Epicurean Theatre, we needed to learn proper techniques, and food safety from Chef Christopher Koetke. And what better way to learn than on a gorgeous new Boos Cutting Board, with chef knives from Wüsthof?
Chef Chris was the perfect instructor to teach us! His personality is over the top entertaining, and his knowledge is amazing. I knew for a long time that I didn’t hold a knife correctly, but it was nice to have him there to show us how to properly chop, dice, and slice.
Pro tip: To safely prep food on a cutting board, make sure to add a damp paper towel underneath as to avoid any slippage, which also means no accidents with your knife!
While Chef Chris taught technique, Chef Dave Woolley created some new-to-us dishes using Idaho Potatoes! After each lesson from Chris, Chef Dave would have a live demo, and then we’d get to taste test (the best part!) the recipe.
On the tasting menu: Idaho® Potato Scalloped Au Gratin, Idaho® Potato Risotto, Roasted Idaho® Potato Fingerling Salad, and a Buffalo Hasselback Idaho® Potato. You can find all of these recipes yourself here, and many more!
Bloggers gonna blog.
We worked up quite the appetite dicing, and slicing (not really, we ate loads of delicious samples), and it was time for lunch! If you’re ever in Tampa Bay, I can’t suggest dining at the Élevage Restaurant enough. I was lucky enough to attend another #SundaySupper trip, where we enjoyed several meals there as well. You won’t be disappointed!
On the lunch menu: Homage to Bern’s (their most popular steak sandwich), with that Buffalo Hasselback Idaho® Potato. Holy YUM.
Are you keeping up with me? Fab swag, loads of hands-on technique, and cooking demos in the beautiful Epicurean Theatre, plus lunch at Élevage?!
Finally, it was time to put it all to the test with another popular #Hashed contest – Idaho® Potato Salad Edition!
While we were at lunch, the theatre was transformed into a competition-style setting. The challenge: make a unique potato salad with secret ingredients from the pantry. Since I was part of the planning prior to this VIP event, I knew all of the ingredients. I opted not to participate since I’d have an advantage over everyone else. But in some ways, it was a lot more fun being on the other side, and being able to listen in on each team’s idea as they brainstormed.
Each team had 45 minutes to create an award-winning potato salad that would secure them tickets to next year’s Food Wine Conference! There were four teams, and at the judges’ table, we ended up with a tie, so at the last minute Chef Dave was called in to make the final decision.
With full hearts, full bellies, and even fuller backpacks stuffed with goodies, it was time to say thank you and good-bye … until next time!