Affordable luxury. Those two words perfectly sum up Buick’s new 2012 vehicle lineup which might possibly be the sleekest automobiles to come off its production line yet. On Saturday, the multi-city Buick Discovery Tour rolled into Mt. Laurel, NJ with its mobile car and culinary expo. A fleet of over 100 cars–including the Verano, Regal, Lacrosse, and Enclave (my personal favorite)–flanked the parking lot of the Westin to the delight of dozens of special invitees. Informative product demonstrators and a legion of personal driving concierges, or right-side ridealong partners as Buick calls them, provided a wealth of information about the vehicles while guiding drivers around a 3-mile test drive course. (Special thanks to my ridealong partner Lauren who was a great brand manager and made the test drive loads of fun.)
CARS AND CHEFS?
So, what does a car manufacturer have to do with the culinary industry? Good question. Customers have come to expect a certain level of luxury in their lives from the style of vehicle they drive to the food they consume and Buick recognizes the correlation between the two, so a partnership with FOOD & WINE seemed only natural. Chefs at the top of their game are invited to participate in the tour–showing off their skills in a series of demonstrations and lectures.
On this leg of the tour, chefs Ben Roche (of Chicago molecular gastronomy phenom Moto), Jonathon Sawyer (chef/owner of The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat in Cleveland), and Ming Tsai (chef/owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA and star of long-running Emmy-nominated PBS show Simply Ming) were on hand to share some of their most delicious recipes. Renowned wine and spirits consultant Michael Green (owner of Liquid Assets Consulting Group) was also in attendance and gave the most ebullient, interactive lecture of the evening–condensing years of wine knowledge into a 20-minute lesson and tasting.
ON THE MENU
When talented chefs and fresh, quality ingredients combine, magic ensues and the result is sublime. Toting a huge canister of liquid nitrogen, kitchen wizard Ben Roche created his signature s’mores ’Acme Bomb’ dessert–a play on an ice cream bombe–complete with a glass noodle ”wick” that he actually lit while Johnathon Sawyer reached back into the annals of culinary history with a delicious ratatouille recipe that he updated by stuffing the mixture and a dollop of chèvre into a squash blossom and frying. (It was, hands down, the most delicious bite of the night as evidenced by the long line of audience members begging for seconds Oliver Twist-style.) Emulating his TV persona, Ming Tsai sliced, diced and joked his way through his chicken chow mein and sweet and sour mango pork demo, offering comic relief while proving to the crowd that Asian food can be approachable for the home cook.
A BRAND THAT GIVES BACK
In the true spirit of corporate giving, for every attending guest Buick will make a donation to The FEED Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness of the global food system crisis and ensuring nutritious school meals for every child.