2005 International
Food & Wine Festival

Lunch & Learn Program

Saturday, October 14, 2005

Featuring Ming Tsai
Blue Ginger
Wellesley, Mass

by Patricia Heil

On October 14th, 2005 my husband Craig and I had the pleasure of dining at Ming Tsai's "Lunch and Learn." Lunch and Learns are part of the Food and Wine Festivals special events. They are held in Epcot at the old Odyssey restaurant (between Mexico and Test Track.)The program is $75 per person and is held from 10:30am-12:30pm. It allows you to "observe a notable chef prepare a three course lunch" which you enjoy with wine parings.

There is a chefs area set up by Viking wih large movie screens and mirrors. There were about 40 people total at the lunch. Seating was not assigned.

The first course was Shrimp-Jicama Shumai with Avocado-Cucumber Gazpacho. It was pared with Casa Lapostolle, Sauvignon Blanc, 2004. The gazpacho was more like a thick sauce rather than a soup. Ming mentioned this. The avocado flavor was quite strong. The shrimp shumai (like a dumpling or dim-sum) was very tasty and deep fried, placed on top of the gazpacho. I did not care for the Casa Lapostolle wine but I am not much of a white wine drinker.

Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan ButterfishNext was the main course, Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish with Wasabi Oil, Soy Syrup and Vegitarian Soba Noodle Sushi. The Butterfish was excellent! I do not think we have ever tried this fish before. The flavor was wonderful. Ming showed how to roll the sushi. He used noodles instead of rice in this dish. The wines pared with the main course were from Guenoc a winery in California. He wanted to show the fish could go with a red or white so we had Guenoc Magoon Unfiltered Chardonnay, 2002 and Guenoc Petite Syrah, 2001. Both wines were excellent and we plan on getting some. They both pared very well with the fish. I loved the Chardonnay and rarely like whites! It was very smooth and buttery.

The last dish was dessert. We had Lemongrass Parfait with Pinapple Salsa Lemon Ginger Royale. The parfait was a wonderful light dessert. The pineapples had a hint of rum. We had champagne pared with dessert and then as a surprise a dish of dark chocolate truffels with Guenoc Vintage Port, 2001!

We also had water and iced tea to drink all during the meal. Service was good if a bit forgteful at times. Craig and I got the end of the bottle of wine a few times and had to remind our waiter to fill our glass. Other tables were getting refills of wine.

Patricia, Ming Tsai, and CraigMing Tsai was very comfortable with the crowd and so funny. His wife and in-laws were there. He told several stories that kept the group laughing. After the meal he posed for pictures and signed his program and cook books. The owner of Guenoc Winery told several delightful stories as well about how his familie's winery was started.

We would return to a Lunch and Learn in the future for sure! It was well worth the money.