Friday, January 15, 2016

Stephanie Cmar Re Imagines McDonald's Ingredients

My parents had a real affinity for making us kids get up early for activities when I was little.  I remember early wake up calls in the summer for beach days, and even earlier ones in the winter for skiing.  We'd pile into car, lunches packed so we could concentrate as much time to the slopes as possible, and set off for the mountains.  It was tradition however, to stop at McDonald's for breakfast.  I'd always get a sausage egg and cheese, and I'd remove the sausage to save it to eat last.  I've always been a big proponent of saving the best for last apparently.  

Over the years however, I stopped eating at McDonald's.  I believed the negative hype, I turned my attention more to my own cooking, and worked towards eating as healthy as possible.  So when I was invited to a dinner with menu made completely of McDonald's ingredients and cooked by the incredible Stephanie Cmar- I was intrigued.  I am beyond impressed Chef Cmar.  Her work on Top Chef, and her ventures since have all been fantastic.  She takes great pride in her work and it shows with everything she makes.  I knew all of this when I accepted the dinner at Farmstead Kitchen, where Chef is currently stationed as Executive Chef.  

I cant lie- I was intrigued.  I hadn't dined in a McDonald's in decades.  I hadn't even considered them an option, yet here, one of the most respected chefs in Boston had partnered up with them.  She had created a full meal based on their ingredients.  I couldn't wait to hear her describe her thoughts on her collaboration.  I smartly captured a video of her speaking about it, I stupidly forgot to put on my flash.  Please listen and ignore the terrible lighting.

So here we had it.  McDonald's ingredients, investigated and proven to be full of
REAL food.  Single ingredients.  Ingredients that are easy to pronounce.  OK- I'm in.  Let's eat.

The meal that Chef Cmar treated us to was exemplary.  Chicken nuggets were re imagined to croquettes dressed with a cucumber and peanut salad and wilted Romaine puree, topped with cilantro lime sauce.  Those french fries that we all crave after a long night, chef somehow made them even more decadent.  Pureed from their fry shape, she transformed them to tender gnocchi tossed with a sausage and beef bolognaise.  The mind of Chef Cmar apparently knows no bounds.  Her talent is just as limitless.   The gnocchi were as light and fluffy as any could be that were made from potatoes destined for gnocchi as opposed to french fries.  
The bolognaise, topped with fried spinach leaves, was robust with gentle acidity, and fresh flavors throughout.

She ended her meal, as no one else can with a big, puffy glazed donut, with a cranberry and salted caramel glaze.  I promised myself I wouldn't eat the whole thing, but Ill be honest- I ate that donut so fast it basically flew off the plate.  

McDonald's.  A fast food chain sourcing real, true, tested ingredients.  Ingredients that our best chefs are proud to use.  Ingredients that we all know and are comfortable with.  Ingredients that can be served in the best restaurants and charged a premium dollar for.  This is the truth.  

Now I am not going to dispute the evidence out there- eating high amounts of fried foods, consuming a diet that isn't diverse in nutrients, and filling up on sugars and bad fats isn't doing anyone any favors.  But blaming McDonald's, who offers multiple options for those looking for a better meal, also isn't the answer.  Fueling our bodies should be about finding the best options to give us energy, to carry us from one task to the next.  But it should also be about satisfying our cravings and our souls.  Its about flavor, and memory.  It's about love, and nostalgia.  It's about finding the right mix of naughty and nice.  Find your own balance.      

1 comment:

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

That was a fun night! Hope to see you again soon! xo

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