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Epcot Food & Wine Festival Review: Chef Ming Tsai Cooking Demo

Thanks to guest reporter Brooke Fehr of DisZine.com for covering an awesome event at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival on behalf of the Disney Food Blog! Cranberries, Chef Ming Tsai, and some great new recipes — sounds like fun to me! Take it away, Brooke!

Earlier this week, I headed over to Walt Disney World to see Chef Ming Tsai in a cooking demonstration at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival.

If you aren’t familiar with Chef Ming, he is the James Beard award-winning chef-owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has written several cookbooks. He’s also a veteran of cooking shows, having hosted the Emmy-award winning East Meets West on Food Network, and he is currently in his ninth season on PBS with his Emmy-nominated series, Simply Ming.  We’ve been fans for a while of his fusion style, and we were really excited to get the chance to see him cook a dish live!

Chef Ming appeared at the event courtesy of Ocean Spray®, who is a sponsor of this year’s Food and Wine Festival. If you get the chance, check out the cranberry bog that Ocean Spray® has created in the middle of Epcot.  It’s beautiful and fascinating, and has even been manned by real cranberry farmers who have chatted with guests, answering all kinds of questions.

CRANBERRY BOG!!

But here we go — on to the demo!

The sold-out presentation began with a wine pairing, as Lucia Christensen of Kaiken Wines introduced the 2009 Kaiken Malbec. The wine was aged in oak and was fruity and full-bodied. With rounded tannins and a soft finish, I was already expecting it to be a great companion to the dish we were about to see and taste –- Roast Beef Tenderloin with Cranberry-Red Wine Sauce.

Chef Ming was personable, laid back, and funny; he welcomed any and all questions from the audience.  Before he had hardly gotten the elements of the dish underway, we were being served our tasting plates. Chef ordered us to eat and enjoy while he cooked, saying that it was just wrong to allow our food to get cold on his account –- and so we did!

Chef Ming Tsai

The beef tenderloin was served on a bed of gingered sweet potatoes studded with Ocean Spray Craisins, and bok choy cooked with fermented black beans and ginger rounded out the dish. The sauce for the beef was made with a combination of the wine we were served and cranberry juice, which further carried through the theme of using cranberries in cooking.

The colors and flavors were perfect for the fall season, and the ginger and fermented black beans added complexity and depth.  It was also really fun to see how I might use ingredients like cranberry juice and Craisins in “out-of-the-box” ways, dressing them up to make a meal sophisticated enough for a dinner party or even a holiday table.

If you’re looking for something special to serve — for date night, for a snazzy Thanksgiving alternative, or “just because” –- then you may want to give this dish a try.

Also, be sure to check out the culinary demos at the Food and Wine Festival. The entertainment, as well as the food and wine pairing, represent great value and a terrific opportunity to learn something new.

Want to know more about the amazing dishes that Chef Ming prepared, or better yet — make them yourself? Here are the recipes. Good Luck!

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Cranberry-Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (2 lb.) center-cut beef tenderloin
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Juice Blend
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°F. Spray small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Heat oil in large wide skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until browned on all sides, reducing heat to medium if necessary. Place beef on baking sheet; season beef with salt and pepper. Reserve skillet.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until internal thermometer reaches 132 to 135 for medium-rare. Let stand loosely covered 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of the butter to reserved skillet and melt over medium heat. Add shallots and cook 1 minute. Add garlic and cook 20 seconds. Add wine and increase heat to high. Add cranberry juice, beef broth and thyme and boil 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly thickened (you’ll see the bottom of the pan as you stir). Reduce heat to medium and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter; strain.

Serves 6

Cranberry Gingered Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh
  • Ginger
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Ocean Spray® Craisins®
  • Dried Cranberries
  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Forked, Wrapped in Foil and Baked Through
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Directions:

Set oven to 350ºF and bake foil wrapped Sweet Potatoes until they can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, 45-60 minutes.  Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté, stirring occasionally until the garlic is brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream and reduce by one-third over low heat, about 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Prepare sweet potato mash: unwrap hot sweet potatoes and scoop flesh into a food processor. Add the cream and process until well blended.  Add the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper, add Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries and pulse until smooth.

For a more country style mix in a heat proof bowl with a potato masher instead of a food processor. Add the cream and process until well blended. Add the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper, add Crasins and blend until smooth.

Serves 4

Bok Choy with Fermented Black Beans and Ginger

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
  • ½ tablespoon of fermented black beans, minced
  • 6 heads of baby bok choy, cut in half, cored and rinsed
  • 6 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
  • ¼ cup of fresh chicken stock or low sodium store bought chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Wan Ja Shan naturally brewed soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for cooking

Directions:

In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add oil and swirl to coat the pan.  Add garlic, ginger and fermented black beans and sauté for about 30 seconds or until the aroma is apparent. Add the bok choy and the scallion whites, toss to coat.  Continue to cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock and soy sauce, and season.  Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

Check for seasoning.  Garnish with scallion greens.

Serves 4

Have fun and enjoy!!

This event was hosted by Ocean Spray Craisins, and Brooke received complimentary admission to Epcot and to Chef Tsai’s event. Disney Food Blog was not obligated to report on the event, but you know I can’t deny an opportunity to talk about the Bog.

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6 Comments

  1. Alan says:

    Great post. Of all the TV star chefs Ming Tsai is as nice a person as there is. Thanks for giving us the chance to cook one of his recipes.

  2. AJ says:

    Alan — I agree! I think he’s pretty incredible!

  3. Diana says:

    Chef Ming is so great. Thanks for the recipes!

  4. Han (Stephanie) says:

    Chef Ming is a great cook! The roast beef tenderloin looks great! Can’t wait to try these recipes.

  5. Paula B. says:

    Everything sounds delish. Love chef, long been a fan and have eaten at his Wellesley restaurant, sounds like this particular event was a winner! And, thanks for sharing the recipes.

  6. Shayne says:

    Looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing the recipes. I have one possibly stupid question: Where does one find fermented black beans?

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