Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney is one of my favorite restaurants. Our first visit was shortly after they opened in early 2001, and because of our frequent visits, we got to know some of the staff, including the then-executive chef Bret Thompson. Bret was there for a couple of years and then moved to a position with Catal's parent company The Patina Group. He left a few years ago to pursue his dream - to open up a neighborhood ice cream shop. And he's done just that.
MILK is located on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. They have soups, sandwiches and salads, but they also have a lot of ice cream treats and baked goods. We made our first visit to MILK last July, and I did a write-up of our visit and the many wonderful goodies there with pictures galore.
At the recent Disney's Food and Wine Festival, we were able to attend a presentation/demonstration done by Bret Thompson.
Each of the seats at the demonstration had supplies set out.
Bret talked some at the start of the presentation. He's on the right, with MILK's pastry chef on the left. The item they were going to prepare during this particular session was buttermilk panna cotta (panna cotta means "cooked cream" in Italian) with berries and champagne granita.
During the demonstration, Bret and the pastry chef would explain what they were doing. There was an overhead mirror angled so that the audience could see what they were doing.
And here's the finished product, which we all had the opportunity to try. It was delicious!
We also had a chance to speak to Bret briefly afterward. One thing you'll notice if you have occasion to speak to him or listen to him talk is that he is so enthusiastic when talking about food and ingredients and different creations. We noticed this from the first time we were introduced to him at Catal. His excitement is absolutely infectious. During the presentation, he was talking about the dish being prepared that day and how you could make so many variations of it simply by changing a few of the ingredients around. You could hear the audience oohing and aahing as he was talking about the various combinations you could make. He even mentioned that MILK has served a foie gras panna cotta with duck on the side! Mmmmmmm.
MILK has a mailing list that you can sign up for, and I was happy to be notified recently of an open house being held at MILK on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 from 5pm to 7pm. The event is intended for media and people who blog about food, so if you fall into one of those categories and are interested, feel free to RSVP. We'll definitely be there.
There's a part of me that can't believe that they've managed to secure a partnership with the Got Milk? people. And then there's another part of me that isn't surprised because of how driven we've seen Bret to be and how much he loves and enjoys having MILK. And then, of course, there's the part of me that's really happy MILK will be getting this kind of worthwhile exposure.
Here's a blog review of MILK from February 2007. Here's another blog review of MILK from around the same time. And here's MILK's listing on yelp.