Cooking with Simon Majumdar

{Giveaway} Shabbat with Simon Majumdar

Published On 16 September, 2013 | Food for thought, Giveaway, KOL Foods, Kosher, Kosher Connection

Writing about food has sent all sorts of opportunities my way.  This year alone I have had the privilege to sample unrivalled kosher wines, eat some of the best meat in the country, dine at amazing restaurants and become friends with some exceptional food enthusiasts.  I say all this, not to brag, but to level-set expectations.  When I say this post is about the most remarkable culinary weekend of my life, I mean it — and I want to share the joy of this weekend with you. 

Where to begin?

Back in February, my friend Sarah connected me with acclaimed food critic, author and Food Network star, Simon Majumdar.  Simon and I emailed back and forth a little, talked about Shabbat as a spiritual reset (which inspired this post), his love for BBQ, and before long, it was set.  Simon would be a guest at our table for a Shabbat meal and attend the Kosher BBQ Festival the same weekend. Awesomeness!

Fast-forward to late June.

A business trip that took me to Northern California and Seattle.  My wife and I spent a night being kosher-wined and double-wrap-dined at the home of Mr and Mrs Epicurean Pig.  Chris and I got to talking food, technique, laws of kosher, bbq…  When we woke with gin-fueled hangovers, Chris has a ticket booked to Kansas City for the BBQ Festival, I needed to step down from judging the event so team Epicurean Bite, sponsored by KOL Foods, could hit the stage.

Fast-forward to August. 

Chris arrives in Kansas City on Wednesday, we cook, we chill, we drink and we bond over food — after all, this is only the third times our paths have crossed, and we’re focused on Friday when we know Simon Majumdar would be joining us for a day of cooking and eating.  Now it’s mid-September and I’m sharing the event with you. 

I’ll be honest with you, this post has been difficult for me to write.  I have been taking notes and drafting it since that epic weekend in August, and I wasn’t quite sure what direction it would take.  Simon is a gentleman and a scholar and it was nothing short of an honor to host him, and to answer the question he shared via Twitter — he is a delight.  

 So, in search of direction, I turned to Facebook and here’s what you wanted to know: 

What do you want to know about my dinner with Simon Majumdar?

Did you talk mostly about food or other random stuff? Did it feel natural to cool together?
As soon as Simon arrived, Chris turned into an awesome mixologist, we were drinking gin and tonic with an awesome local (to California) first batch gin from the Spirit Works distillery.  We sat around the smoker, smoking chicken for Simon’s chicken Korma and talked about life, writers, publishers, food enthusiasts, religion, faith and culinary experiences.  Everything about the experience felt natural.

That’s the magic that happens when food enthusiasts meet.  There was a a natural connection.  It felt like I have known Simon for years. 

Chris making magic with gin from Spirit Works Distillery

Chris making magic with gin from Spirit Works Distillery

How familiar was Simon with kosher cooking?  Were there any awkward moments?
Simon is not a stranger to the kosher culinary world nor was this the first time he shared a shabbat meal.  There was nothing “awkward” and I can’t really imagine what that could possibly have been.  Our kitchen is dairy-free all the time, so I guess that makes it easier to explain the laws of Kosher.  So I had all the ingredients needed for his Smoked Turkey Korma, Simon emailed me the recipe before he arrived so I was sure to have everything.  I accidently defrosted chicken breasts, but the dish was delicious all the same. 

Simon makes a smoked chicken korma

Simon makes a smoked chicken korma

What did you eat?  Were the kids up for the meal?
Our three year old stays up each week for the ritual of kiddush and hamotzei, then he heads to bed.  The menu was stellar, thanks in part to both KOL Foods and Hagafen Cellars.  You can see our full menu in my previous post.  

What’s this about a giveaway?
Simon was kind enough to sign one of our Epicurean Bite team shirts and I have one to give away.  Follow the instruction in this post, and I will share the joy of this weekend with one lucky fan. 

Team shirt signed by Simon Majumdar

Team shirt signed by Simon Majumdar

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I waited to share this weekend with you.  Partly because I didn’t know where to start, and partly because I was waiting for the right time.  This month’s Kosher Connection is themed “Share the Joy” and I can’t think of a more joyous culinary experience to share with the community.  For a bonus entry, leave a comment below to tell me which of the Kosher Connection posts was your favorite. 

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