Food Network Star Claire Robinson to Give Food Demo

Special to the Ledger-Enquirer Claire Robinson will be the special guest of the Harvest Moon Festival tonight as she does a cooking demonstration.
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer Claire Robinson will be the special guest of the Harvest Moon Festival tonight as she does a cooking demonstration.

Claire Robinson learned how to make dishes using very few ingredients when she lived in southwest France.

That experience helped her develop her Food Network show, “Five Ingredient Fix,” where she shows viewers how to make recipes using just five ingredients each.

She’ll be kicking off the Harvest Moon Festival at Callaway Gardens tonight with a cooking demonstration. She’ll show the audience how to make Curried Mini Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Basil Pesto Butter, Beef Tenderloin with Port Sauce and an Apple Spiced Bourbon Toddy.

Robinson is a familiar face on Food Network and the Cooking Channel. She hosts episodes of “Food Network Challenge” and makes appearances on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” She was a contestant on “Chefs vs. City” and “Chopped.”

It’s been only two years since “Five Ingredient Fix” made its debut. Before that, she was a behind-the-scenes fixture on “Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello.” She’s also worked as a production assistant on Martha Stewart’s shows.

Her supportive roles on other cooking shows helped her learn how TV food shows were produced and helped her become comfortable in front of the camera.

When she was approached about doing her own show, she was ready.

She’d amassed a large collection of recipes that called for five or fewer ingredients, so that topic was selected for her show.

“It’s not fancy food,” Robinson said. “It’s simple food.”

Robinson thinks that the sluggish economy has resulted in many people opting staying home and cooking for themselves and their friends.

She thinks her show is ideal for beginning cooks who become overwhelmed when facing long lists of ingredients.

Robinson recommends that beginners follow recipes until they gain confidence to experiment with other ingredients and discover their own creations.

RACHEL CRUMBLEY/Special to the Ledger-Enquirer Chris Smith, from left, is the executive sous chef at Callaway Gardens, Eric Lewis is the sous chef at the Country Store Restaurant and Joe Malone is the Gardens’ executive chef.

Callaway Gardens executive chef Joe Malone and his staff will prepare the food for tonight’s Harvest Feast with Claire Robinson as well as Friday’s dinner and Saturday’s lunch and dinner.

“After she (Robinson) gets done with her demonstrations, we’ll set up live-action stations,” executive sous chef Chris Smith said.

There will be four stations manned by four chefs — Fresh Carving Station (Smoked Black Angus Prime Rib with Brown Sugar and Sea Salt Crust) with four different sauces; Grits Station (Callaway Gardens’ Speckled Heart Grits with toppings including country ham, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, roasted tomatoes, poblano chili and three different cheeses); Salads Made to Order and Risotto Made to Order.

Smith is anticipating 400 to 500 people at each station but estimates are hard because this is an inaugural event.

Other food vendors, including two food trucks from Atlanta, will also participate in the festival, said Callaway Gardens’ public relations manager Rachel Crumbley.

Smith encourages guests to visit the Farmers’ Market that will be open as usual on Friday evening.