Saturday, December 26, 2015

An Evening with McD's at Fairsted Kitchen

          My first job ever was at McDonald's, where I worked throughout high school. So it seems fitting, like coming full circle, that I recently had the privilege of attending An Evening with McD's - a Top Chef Style Event at Fairsted Kitchen with former contestant and Chef Stephanie Cmar. I went into the even knowing only that it would feature a three course tasting menu, created by Stephanie using only ingredients from McDonald's. I wasn't sure what to expect, and the dishes completely blew me away!

          We started with some pineapple mango mocktails (inspired by the smoothies at McCafe) and fries at the french fry bar.  The fries had an herb seasoning, which is available in some of the international McD's locations.

          The first course was a chicken croquette with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree. I wondered how a dish like this was possible using only McDonald's ingredients, and our hosts explained that McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps contain fresh vegetables often sourced from local distributors. They use fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, and each salad contains about 3 cups of vegetables and up to 16 varieties of premium greens.

          Next was a french fry gnocchi with sausage and beef bolognese. Stephanie actually took McD's fries and put them through a meat grinder to turn them into the dough for gnocchi! The beef was perfect for a bolognese sauce; it comes flash frozen to seal in flavor and no additives or preservatives.

          For dessert we had doughnuts made from scratch by Stephanie using fresh eggs and whole wheat flour which are all used in McD's baked goods and breakfast items (McD's uses USDA grade A fresh cracked eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour ).

          While the food at this event is sadly not available at McDonald's, it was a lot of fun and a chance to learn about some of the more healthy alternatives available. Kids can have apples as a side instead of fries, the salads are made with fresh vegetables (with a few low calorie dressings available), and I enjoy the egg white delight McMuffin as a lower calorie (250) option when I need breakfast on the go! As a fan of Top Chef, it was also fun to be there firsthand for what Stephanie described as a quickfire challenge like experience. I hope to visit Fairsted Kitchen again soon and try some of her other creations.

This post is in collaboration with McDonald's. All photos courtesy of Debbie Grubstein

Fairsted Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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