Follow That Chef-Master Chefs!

I love Wednesday mornings, especially with a cup of coffee, a good friend and an early trip to Santa Monica for The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories “Follow That Chef” series. This was the second time we’ve followed a Chef at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The Guest Chefs this time were Tracy Kontos and Alejandra Schrader – Finalists from Master Chef Season 2!

Tracy and Alejandra were both warm and friendly, answering a multitude of questions as we followed them around the Market. They explained their reasons for choosing produce for their demo. They shared information on how to look for the best oranges, herbs, choosing meats, the difference between radishes, and explained a variety of different cooking techniques. Here are some photos from our walk around the market:

A HUGE artichoke! Imagine the dips you could make with this!

Gorgeous (and delicious) Rainbow Chard!

Tracy showing us Watermelon Radishes

Alejandra choosing Rosemary for her lamb dish

Tracy picking the perfect Herbs for her Herb salad

Having fun!

Alejandra discussing how to choose lamb with a farmer

Tracy with Fennel bulbs for her Salmon dish

Here are some other fabulous things we saw – and a few we bought!

When we were done at the Market, we went back to The Gourmandise School for a cooking demo! Both ladies were excited to share their knowledge and expertise. The atmosphere was fun and FULL of information on healthy eating, spices, nutritional benefits of certain foods and how to make better choices! Sorry Alejandra, I have to go with Tracy on the Duck fat issue though! Yum!

Alejandra made a beautiful Rack of Lamb, Fingerling Potatoes and a Wild Arugula Salad with heirloom tomatoes, kumquat and a blood orange dressing! Tracy made a gorgeous Poached Alaskan Salmon with a Mixed Green Salad, shaved fennel, citrus and edible flowers!

Fennel bulbs and how to cut them to prepare them for the mandolin.

Tracy showing us how to use the mandolin to shave fennel

Different citrus for the salad

I learned a new term! To “supreme” an orange means segmenting it, for a salad or cooking dish. Tracy showed us how to do it!

Alejandra showed us how to season and prepare the lamb.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

Tossing the Arugula

Salmon poaching in oil flavored with Garlic, Tangerine and Thyme

Preparing to plate!

These are Tracy and Alejandras finished dishes!
Poached Alaskan Salmon topped with a Salad of shaved fennel, herbs, citrus and watermelon radishes!

Rack of Lamb with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Rosemary

Wild Arugula Salad with heirloom tomatoes, kumquats and a blood orange dressing

Here were our tasting plates! Everything was delicious!!

Tracy and Alejandra have recently opened their own private business! You can find them online at Check them out for Catering, Private Chef services, Wellness Programs, Corporate Lunches, Lifestyle Cooking Classes (I plan on taking a few!) and more!
Thank you again Gourmandise for a fantastic morning! We are looking forward to coming back for more demos and classes very soon.

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  1. So amazing! I am beyond jealous of the experience you are having with these master chefs. Wonder if there’s anything like that in New York that I can do…

    • Melinda, there has to be something in NYC like this! Try looking at cooking schools, or private cooking classes to see if they have guest chefs! I am signed up for FOUR more of this series. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from them. Such a fantastic opportunity!

  2. What a great adventure!! I adore both of these girrleees!!! xoxo Ally 🙂


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