In this week’s post with Chef Leah Eveleigh, Escoffier student and Cutthroat Kitchen winner, tells us about her involvement in the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, a yearly gathering of chefs who specialize in Asian fare. Festival goers are able to taste foods from China, Korea, the Philippines, India, Japan and many more exotic countries. Eveleigh, who has been a part of the festival now for seven years, shares with us a little bit about her history with the it and what delicious food she is making this year.
How long have you been doing it?
In the beginning of 2003, I was searching for a new venture, perhaps a new career in the food industry. I knew that my passion was cooking after working for over ten years as a banker. The CDBF was the birthright of where I started my culinary adventure.
How did you first find it?
One day I was networking with the Asian Round Table of Colorado (which I had been already part of the committee for several years). I was more curious of what’s going on in the Asian community that I can be a part of and that’s where I found out about the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. I jumped in right away. The beginning of my entrepreneurship as a caterer was serving up my Filipino dishes at my booth (Tropical Grill Catering) that later became popular at the event. This was the place where I introduced my signature and award winning dishes, such as my Banana Lumpia. I’ve participated in the event since now for seven years.
What will you make for the festival this year?
I will be showcasing my “Best of Denver” Banana Lumpia on the Culinary Dojo stage, which is a new addition this year. I will also be doing a cooking demo on the stage on how to make the fantastic Filipino dessert.
Tell me a little bit about your food.
I get excited when I talk about my food! My catering menu includes the national dish of the Philippines, Chicken Adobo. This is savory dish is a favorite to everyone I make it for. It’s chicken simmered in soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, onion, sweet bell peppers, bay leaves and peppercorn that is served with hot, steamed rice to soak up all the flavorful juices. The aroma is sure to make you hungry.
What is your favorite part?
My favorite part of the festival event is I get to share my food, my culture and my heritage to the masses of festival goers. It reminds me of the Fiesta in my hometown in the Philippines where friends and family gather from all over town to share and celebrate with food.
How has your schooling with Escoffier helped with the food you make?
At Escoffier, I’ve learned a lot on improving my techniques and food presentation, which is really handy. I’ve become more confident in my live cooking demos. I’m looking forward to be back in culinary school after the 4th of July break. Looking back at my career, I’ve come a long way and I am humble of my accomplishments and I’m hungry for more.