Thursday, November 10, 2016
TINSEL & TINE JUDGES PHILLY'S
"ALMOST CHRISTMAS" PIE BAKE OFF
Well, the holidays are upon us again. More and more every year I wish I could hibernate starting on Thanksgiving through Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day, only to emerge in time for Easter. I can picture myself in a cozy cabin somewhere in Nantucket, I'd try my hand at making all kinds of soups and breads; I'd enjoy short brisk walks, and warm myself with mint hot chocolate; I'd get my acrylics out and get back to painting; I'd read an actual book or two, instead of articles and reviews; of course binging on Netflix would be the main event of everyday; no weekly trips to the movie theaters until spring - receiving screeners for all the Golden Globe and Oscar nominated films.
Speaking of getting through the holidays David E. Talbert's ALMOST CHRISTMAS featuring: Danny Glover, Kimberly Elise, John Michael Higgins, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, JB Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, Nicole Ari Parker, Jessie T. Usher and DC Young Fly is all about family coming together for 5 days at Christmas to celebrate good times and love each other through the bad. It's sure to become a Holiday Classic!
Glover plays Walter, a family man who was truly in love with his wife of 40 odd years and enjoyed raising a family of four in a nice middle class suburb, as the owner of a chain of Autobody shops. His children have exceeded his expectations, his oldest son (Malco) is running for an elected position, his eldest daughter (Elise) is a doctor, his second daughter (Union) is in Law School, his second son (Usher), is a College football all star. But the holidays are not the holidays without some family dramas, particularly in light of the fact this will be their first Christmas without the matriarch of the family, as their mother, Walter's wife, has passed away a few months earlier. Stepping up to fill the void is Aunt May (Mo'Nique) a career back up singer who's worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Stevie Nicks.
Not only is Almost Christmas heartwarming, surprisingly well-written with plenty of laugh out loud moments, it's also a FOODIE FILM! So much of the movie is about the mom's missing recipes, the sisters competing in the kitchen, Walter trying to make his wife's traditional sweet potato pie to perfection... in celebration of this fact, Allied Philly together with their partners OIC Philadelphia & The Philadelphia Sunday Sun put together a pie bake off to promote the movie, and I got to be a "celebrity" judge!
Two teams competed to make, not sweet potato pies, but Butter Rum Apple Pie with a Toffee Streusel & Homemade Eggnog.
The contest was headed up by Philly's own celebrity chef Kristol Bryant.
Bryant went on to work for Master Chef of France, Philippe Chin’s new restaurant Philippe on Locust. After a couple of years with Chin’s Pastry Chef, Michael Vandergeest, which also included a stage with Chef Jean Marie LaCroix of the Four Seasons Hotel, Kristol moved on to broaden her horizons. Over the next few years, Kristol performed various kitchen duties at the Lowes Hotel, Philadelphia’s Downtown Club, Park Hyatt at the Bellevue’s XIX restaurant and got a taste of TV cooking, supporting Chef Coleman on-screen with his popular PBS show “Flavors of America”. Currently, Bryant serves as Executive Chef of The Sonesta, Philly's boutique hotel where food meets art.
My co-celebrity judges were journalist and broadcasting personality Kharisma McIlwaine and WDAS's best loved DJ, Patty Jackson.
Kristol's Butter Rum Apple Pie with a Toffee Streusel needs very little baking time, because you cook the apples on the stove top first. And if you have a mandolin to slice the apples, it cuts down tremendously on prep time. Although both teams followed the same instructions, they were able to add in special ingredients of their choosing. Each pie did have differences in presentation and flavors. I liked team #1's pie because I could detect hints of orange zest. Kharisma like team #2's pie because its flavors were more in keeping with a traditional apple pie. Patty Jackson broke the tie, also voting for team #2.
|Winning Baking Team #2|
Universal Pictures & Will Packer Productions
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score:4 outta 5
click to COMMENT
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog