Exquisite food, drink, surroundings, company. The 28th Annual American Wine & Food Festival is the premier culinary event of the season and it happens this weekend. FIJI Water is kind of addicted to fine food, so naturally, we’ll be there, along with enough star chefs to feed a king’s court.
FIJI Water partnered with tyro Chef Amar Santana (pictured) of Charlie Palmer Restaurant at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza on a recipe for the big event. His recipe for Saffron and Olive Oil-Poached Shrimp and Avocado Gazpacho with Preserved Lemon and Corn Nuts includes FIJI Water, and Chef Santana will be serving it up at AWF. You can also make it yourself at home; the recipe is below.
Most star chefs start young and rise quickly, and Chef Santana is no exception. By the time he entered the CIA (the Culinary Institute of America, not that CIA), on a full scholarship, Santana had already studied at Le Cordon Bleu, after winning a culinary competition at age 17.
After graduating from the CIA, Santana went to Chef Palmer’s Aureole, rising to sous-chef within a year. In 2007, Chef Palmer selected Santana, at the ripe old age of 25, to run the kitchen at his first Southern California restaurant. Under Santana’s leadership, the restaurant earned five stars from the Orange County Register and was named one of the Top 10 Restaurants in Orange County by Orange Coast. Chef Santana has also been named 2010 Chef of the Year by Riviera Magazine.
And now, on to the food. Here’s his recipe. It’s refreshing and simple. Make it yourself or have it served to you along with a Veritable Sultan’s Parade of Epicurean Delights at the festival – tickets are still available.
Oh, and if you need another reason to go (and granted, tix aren’t cheap), you should know that since its inception the festival has raised $15 million for the Meals on Wheels Programs of Los Angeles.
Saffron and Olive Oil Poached Shrimp
Garnish with baby cilantro and crushed corn nuts. Serve chilled.