SoBeWFF Barilla Interactive Lunch: Cook Your Own Meal For $150
The word interactive could mean a lot of things. When describing an event at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, it could indicate dialogue -- a conversation on the subject of food and drink. It could signify a gathering, the kind where attendants hobnob with glamorous, celebrity chefs.
All photos by Emily Codik Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos at the Barilla Interactive Lunch
At the Barilla Interactive Lunch at the Biltmore Hotel, the word interactive meant all of these things. But it also meant attendants paid $150 to cook their own meal.
On the SoBe Fest website, the event is described as a lunch where Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, hosts of Cooking Channel's Extra Virgin, invite attendants to "experience what it would be like to join them in the kitchen." It states lunch would involve them "[teaching] you to cook your own Italian meal that any mama would be proud of." Then, after the lesson, the website says, "You also get to sit down and enjoy the meal paired with a lovely Italian Wine as the afternoon goes on!"
A chef-less table at Barilla Interactive Lunch
This is misleading. At Barilla Interactive Lunch, tables of eight were arranged across a ballroom. Each table had a burner, mixing bowls, and a carefully arranged mise en place. There was a stage where hosting chefs, Mazar and Corcos, as well as Barilla executive chef Lorenzo Boni, demonstrated how to prepare two recipes: veggie farfalle with artichokes, buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, morels and black truffle oil, and saltimbocca alla romana, with sautéed baby kale and mashed potatoes. Attendants had paper pamphlets printed with the recipes. Wine was paired with each course.
As the hosting chefs cooked on stage, attendants were expected to follow along and cook for themselves. But there was only one burner per table. One lucky individual had to volunteer to cook for the entire crew.
This meant that a complete stranger (of questionable culinary ability) was completely responsible for the lunch portion of the $150 event.