Sam The Cooking Guy Collaborates in the Kitchen

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Sam, The Cooking Guy Heats Up CK

{to see a slideshow, click here}

If you don’t already know, Sam Zien is somewhat of a local celebrity. You might know him better as Sam, The Cooking Guy. Ok… well he isn’t just a “local” celebrity but because he is a local and comes off as that super chill, fun, easy to talk to guy when you run into him at the grocery store, you don’t think of him as some big hotshot.

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I was invited to join the crowd at Collaboration Kitchen over the weekend where Sam was the special guest chef for the night to kick off the 2014 series. I had never been to a Collaboration Kitchen before (tickets sell out VERY fast each time) so I didn’t truly understand the set up until I arrived. The massive warehouse of Catalina Offshore Products is set with a center row of chairs facing a mobile kitchen setup against a Specialty Produce backdrop. Guests bring coolers of wine and beer to keep handy for a thirsty moment and the cooking demonstrations begin. Not to worry, whatever the guest chef cooks is ALSO being cooked in mass behind the back drop by a crew of volunteer chefs led by Chef Jenn Felmley so that you get a taste of the goodness too. These are not your average tasters the size of a dime. Your are fed well.

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Sam is a pro so this was second nature to him. He demonstrated 5-6 easy to make recipes suggesting places to purchase specialty ingredients at local Asian markets and answered questions. Sam has quite the fan base. One enthusiastic fan kept talking about how HOT HOT HOT Sam is and what a lucky gal his wife Kelly is to have Sam, The Cooking Guy as her man. Kelly blushed.

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Tommy Gomes and Dan Natrass from Catalina Offshore talked fish facts and must-knows. We sampled an incredible fresh Yellowtail that was filleted and beautifully presented in a matter of minutes. It was incredible to watch it happen. [I have tried to filet a fish. Most of it is still on the fish when I am done with it.] Chef Ken Gardon even explained why the best time to buy a Yellowtail is after they gorge themselves during fall.

It wasn’t all fish fun though. Cupcakes Squared and Andreas Truffles were present displaying their sweet tooth compliant goodies for all to sample.

Fun, casual, informative, filling. This plus a great bunch of people make Collaboration Kitchen a MUST-DO for San Diegans.

{P.S. I have tweeted Sam to ask where I can find the recipes for his AWESOME dishes. I will post a link once I hear back}