Photo Gallery: Market District Opening Had Plenty for Everyone

Veggie artist James Parker created sculptures out of vegetables; celebrity chefs gave cooking demonstrations.

Chef Mike Isabella said cooking was all about love. Chef Whitney Miller was on a mission to make an unpopular vegetable tasty.

They were part of the festivities over the weekend for

Also on hand was veggie artist James Parker, who carved vegetables to make sculptures.

The photo gallery here shows scenes from the weekend's festivities.

Here are short summaries of Isabella's and Miller's cooking demonstrations.


Celebrity Chef Mike Isabella

Isabella, chef and owner of Graffiato in Washington, D.C., demonstrated how to make risotta balls during his cooking demonstration. He appeared on the sixth season of Top Chef and was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars.

Telling stories as he cooked, Isabella said some chefs use butter to make things taste good.

"I tell them it's love that makes everything taste good," said the New Jersey native who grew up eating food that his Italian-American grandmother prepared.

He told the audience he has a second restaurant opening in the Georgetown section of Washington in mid-March, and he plugged his cookbook, which will be published in the fall.

Asked for advice to the home chef, he encouraged the audience to shop for good, fresh ingredients.

"Keep it simple. Less is more in my eyes," said Isabella. "It's love. It takes time. You have to be able to put the time in."


Celebrity Chef Whitney Miller

Miller is on a quest to take ingredients that people do not like "and transform them into a way they might like them a little more," she said as she cooked three dishes at her Market District demonstration.

To prove it, she made Sauteed Brussel Sprouts, Leek and Green Apple with Candied Pecans and provided samples to the audience. (This was the first time I ever enjoyed brussel sprouts.)

Miller was the winner of Fox-TV's MasterChef title. She is working on her second cookbook, she said.

Unlike some Southern cooks, who pound on the butter to make food taste good, Miller says she tries to cook healthier. 

"Getting your kids in the kitchen young is really important," she emphasized. Kids don't have to be near the stove to help with things like rubs, she said

"I like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen because I'm weird like that," she said with a laugh.

Miller said she likes to keep her recipes simple because she realizes people do not have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Her advice: Get fresh ingredients. She said that in her native Mississippi, pecans are easy to find, and she praised the sweet potatoes sold from trucks set up along highways.

As someone who tries unconventional ingredients together—like peanut butter and sweet potatoes—Miller had one more piece of advice:

"If you try something new, don't tell your guests what's in it until after they eat it."




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