New Year’s resolution #2: Revamp the kitchen?

Delicious charcuterie board at BlueStar cooking demo

Anyone else in the mood for a kitchen remodel? I can hear the chorus of “No’s” (lol), and I don’t blame you. The previous time we did a remodel was right after we’d bought this house, and we were feeling brave enough, young enough, and enthusiastic enough. It was one of those “it’s now or never” situations – we decided to go ahead with the remodel while we were still young and had no kids. Fast forward to 2020, and we have 2 energetic children and 2 demanding jobs – and a kitchen remodel suddenly doesn’t seem that appealing. And yet, I can dream, can’t I? ?

I’ve always wanted to buy a professional gas range, but until now I have kept postponing. That may not sound like a fully-fledged kitchen remodel – and yet, it would still mean the world to me. If we do decide to go ahead and buy a new gas range this year, we’ll begin by checking out the place we bought all of our household appliances from: Abt in Glenview. They host a variety of well-known brands, including the famous and much-coveted BlueStar. As a matter of fact, Abt has recently redesigned a section of their store to accommodate a BlueStar range of appliances, and I was invited to the official inauguration.

The experiential space features 18 BlueStar products, from ranges and ventilation designs to premium refrigeration, electric wall ovens and induction cooktops.

In this special Abt section consumers can look at a variety of BlueStar products and styles, brainstorm with experts, attend demos, and experience the brand first-hand.

The space is beautifully decorated with a variety of displays that emphasize BlueStar’s iconic design features.

What better way to showcase the reliability and performance of high-end kitchen appliances than with a cooking demo? At the helm of BlueStar’s demo was famous Chicago-based Chef Paul Kahan.

Chef Kahan was awarded the Outstanding Chef title by the James Beard Foundation in 2013, and has received international acclaim for his work in restaurants such as Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, Publican Quality Bread, and Nico Osteria, among others.

At the BlueStar demo Chef Kahan made several recipes from his latest book, Cooking for Good Times, which was singled out as one of the best cookbooks published last fall by the New York Times (you can check out my thorough review of it here).

I was excited to discover Chef Kahan’s passion for cooking with root vegetables in general, and beets in particular. I grew up eating lots of beets, most of the time in a simple preparation: boiled, grated, and mixed with finely grated horseradish and white wine vinegar. Beets are actually a veggie Chef Kahan is fond of using all year-round, and cooking it usually involves a two-step process, roasting and marinating. During the BlueStar demo Chef Kahan made beets with burrata, charred kale, and a hazelnut vinaigrette, a dish which was absolutely delicious.

Another interesting take from Chef Kahan’s demo was that beets are very versatile. After roasting, marinating and charring them in the broiler, Chef Kahan used them to make a beet and walnut dip – his version of muhammara. As a seasoned fan of beets, I could not but be excited with Chef Kahan’s innovative use of this rather unassuming (and underrated, in my opinion) vegetable, which he served with deliciously crunchy seed crackers.

The demo ended with Chef Kahan cooking steak for us, as well as providing useful information on how to cook it to perfection. Chef Kahan prefers searing as a method for cooking steak since this ensures the meat develops a nice crust, while also holding on to the flavorful fat it will ultimately cook in. Chef Kahan’s full blueprint for the perfect steak involves the following steps: marinate; sear; baste and finish in the oven; rest; slice and serve.

I had an amazing time at Chef Paul Kahan’s BlueStar cooking demo at Abt Glenview. I discovered several ways to cook one of my all-time favorite veggies, I learned useful tips on steak cooking, and last but not least, I indulged in delicious food, perfect for the season and the event. Having witnessed such an impressive display of culinary expertise and high end appliance performance, I feel inspired to give my modest thoughts on kitchen remodeling a try. Should I, shouldn’t I? The proof is in the beet ?