Babalu Tapas and Tacos Executive Chef Warren Weiss conducted a cooking class at KaTom yesterday afternoon. I have visited the restaurant several times with friends and knew that this demonstration was not to be missed so I booked the class several weeks ago. Here is what I saw…
The KaTom store and complex is already decorated beautifully for the holidays, inside and out. I was happy to enter the store to see my friends Harriet and Sarah Berrier. We had a front table with a great view. I went up to meet Chef Weiss and his restaurant assistants, Teagan and Sara. Babalu Tapas and Tacos is located in Knoxville on Gay St., just a few doors down from the Downtown Brewery. It is a fun, lively place to eat so go there soon! Click this link to go their website. Nice!
They were excited to be there and cook for an audience of ‘foodies’ in a state of the art demo kitchen. I enjoyed talking to them a few minutes before the class began. Chef Weiss trained in a culinary school in Hyde Park, New York.
We were delighted to see 4 courses on the menu. Plus, complete recipes on the following pages.
Great view of kitchen techniques from the KaTom overhead TV. No bad seat in the house.
At the restaurant, they use two avocados to make each tableside guacamole. The most guacamole sold in one day at the restaurant: 300 orders.
Extra Babalu Guacamole served with chips.
Guacamole on grilled country toast points with radish and micro cilantro.
It was fabulous! A secret to their guac is that they use sundries tomatoes rather than salsa, pico de gallo, or chopped tomatoes. It is creamy beyond belief.
I forgot to take a picture of the tuna ceviche. It was excellent—and I don’t usually do ceviche. Above, you can see the chopped salad. We all agreed that the lime vinaigrette was sublime! The Anaheim peppers gave it a little spicy ‘kick’ and complexity. I get tired of my own salads at home, but could eat this one every day.
A nice version of paella!
Mexican Fudge with pepitas. Looks like pistachios, but they are crushed and toasted pumpkin seeds. Delightful!
A crowd pleaser that concluded the class with applause.
I enjoy all the cooking classes at KaTom, of course, but enjoyed this presentation very much due to the relaxed and informative delivery provided by Chef Weiss. He told us interesting things about the Babalu Restaurant. There are several locations: Jackson, MS; Charlotte, N.C.; Overton Square in Memphis, TN.; Atlanta, GA, and Knoxville.
Chef Weiss answered questions from the audience throughout the demonstration. For example, his favorite food is macaroni and cheese. His favorite restaurants in Knoxvegas are the Northshore Brasserie, Stock and Barrel (best hamburgers), and Jig and Reel (fish and chips). He enjoys living and working downtown.
Chef Weiss gave us cooking tips for chopping onions and putting them in the fridge for 30 minutes before cutting them to prevent eye irritation. Put avocados in a paper bag for a few days if you need to ripen them. Trader Joe’s sells frozen cubes of garlic that are great value and taste for cooking.
The next cooking class will be on Tuesday, December 6th with a chef from Blackberry Farm. There were only a few seats left for that class so you need to call and book today if you want to get in on that one. Harriet, Sarah, and I already have our spots reserved. Melinda should be joining us too. There isn’t a better way to spend a couple of hours learning new recipes and dining with friends while you are out and about in Sevierville.
Save me a seat at the table!
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