You will often hear me say that “Daisy” fans are nothing short of rabid! They will weather rain, snow, wind and scorching temperatures to come and say “hola”. This was the case this past Sunday, September 9th, when I was invited to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage month with the Bronx Botanical Garden (are you listening Brooklyn? the Bronx Botanical Garden!), by doing a cooking demo outside their Caribbean Gardens exhibition (if you get a chance, make a point of going to see it; it’s nothing short of breathtaking!).
The demo was held outdoors and, while we were blessed with dry skies, the temperature was quite high, the humidity rivaled it, and the sun was on steroids! I was a bit concerned that the weather might discourage people from coming out of the air conditioning, and after meeting with Chef Frank (of Abigail Kirsch Catering on the premise) to discuss the mise en place, I quickly retreated to a downstairs classroom, to hydrate myself and cool off a bit.
The demo was scheduled to start at around 2:30 PM and the first 100 guests to arrive would receive a ticket that would entitle them to a tasting prepared by Chef Frank and his kitchen. We would be making a Valenciana Salad and Chicken Diablo, and as much as I know that I can rock a Dutch oven, I was surprised to see a large crowd on the reception area, in spite of the heat. In fact, it was sooo hot, that the Botanical Garden staff brought out tents (to the collective relief of fans that were burning up!) to provide shade for all the spectators. The rest of the fans just moved their chairs off to the side where trees provided shade.
After being introduced by my gorgeous hostess, Gayle Schmidt, the Family Garden there made me a lovely, fragrant bouquet of herbs and flowers they had grown and picked right there on the premises.
…and then were off! I enjoyed a lovely demo, answered questions, and chatted with the audience while we made our Ensalada Valenciana and Chicken Diablo with Spaghetti.
Finally, after what felt like a very cozy visit in my kitchen, I get to my favorite part of these events, when I get one on one time to meet and greet the fans. We laughed, we cried, we shared stories, signed books, and took pictures. I even had a young fan tell me that her father loves me and her mom knows it, lol! She then proceeded to dial her dad so I could say hello. He freaked!
Since the demo, I have received numerous emails from fans who attended telling me how much they enjoyed themselves. One stylishly bald gentleman even wrote to tell me that it was worth the sunburn he suffered on his head! I did mention that “Daisy” fans are rabid, right? Well, to all the “We love you Daisy!”‘s that you all shouted out last Sunday, remember: I love you right back! Thank you for a spectacular Sunday afternoon in the Bronx!