This Sunday Arizona PBS will bring a handful of food and drink experts from across the country to Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia for a day of education, food, and drink at the second annual Eight's Great GrillFest. This year's special guests include Anthony Dias Blue, James Beard Foundation award-winning food and wine critic; Barbara Pool Fenzl, star of Eight's Savor the Southwest; Robert McGrath, James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and host of Eight's Check Please! Arizona; and two of the stars of America's Test Kitchen.
If you're not familiar with the half-hour cooking show, the general idea is that expert cooks perfect simple recipes to share them with American diners -- that means everything from a perfect omelet to a recipe for always-moist grilled pork tenderloin.
Julia Collins Davidson is executive food editor for the book division of America's Test Kitchen and is an on-screen test cook for America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country from America's Test Kitchen. At the festival she'll be doing a cooking demonstration of shrimp skewers.
"That might not sound that exotic but I think that's what we do a America's Test Kitchen -- we teach people the basics," Davidson says.
She'll be joined by Bridget Lancaster, the executive food editor for New Media, Television, and Radio at America's Test Kitchen and an on-screen test cook. Lancaster will be demonstrating how to grill a perfect burger, including how to grind your own beef.
"Our goal was to have simple things people could cook at home," Davidson says.
At America's Test Kitchen, which is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located outside Boston, Davidson says she and other cooks might try anywhere from two dozen to 100 different tests before finding the best recipe. And even then, she says they have to refine it to be able give home cooks advice on adjustments such as temperature and type of stove or grill.
Davidson says one of the biggest mistakes people make when grilling at home is to just "crank the grill and throw the meat on." A better strategy is to have a two-level fire, according to Davidson, so you can move your meat over to grill at a lower temperature if needed.
As far as supplies go, Davidson says you don't need to invest in anything too expensive.
"I'm not into gagdet mind you, but a really good grill brush is important," she says.
Extra long kitchen tongs -- not grill tongs -- are also part of her grilling tool kit. They allow you to move things as needed without getting burned, she says.
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SHOW ME HOW
You can catch Davidson, Lancaster, and more this Sunday, November 2 at the Eight's Great GrillFest at Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia. Gates open at noon and the event ends at 3 p.m. and a full schedule of the day's events is available on the Eight's Great GrillFest website.
Tickets cost $40 a person and are all-inclusive. VIP tickets, which include early entrance and access to a Private Chef Panel from national television personalities, cost $50 a person. For more information visit the Eight's Great GrillFest website.