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    « What I learned this week: I am blessed | Main | In the Back Room: Children's books for dog days activities »

    Celebrity chefs and real chefs

    A little more than 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to meet renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. My family and I were on our final family vacation before the nest emptied as our girls flew away — our one and only vacation to Disney World. As we ate dinner one evening at Wolfgang Puck's Disney World Cafe, the celebrity chef himself thrilled diners with an appearance. He patiently obliged and posed for photos.

     meeting Wolfgang Puck

    Wolfgang Puck was the only real chef — one whose career and lifeblood is the culinary arts — I'd ever met. Until BlogHer.

    At BlogHer, I had the opportunity via the Lean Cuisine Honestly Good luncheon to meet six chefs — the six real live chefs who come up with tasty entrees and more for Lean Cuisine. These four men and two women are true culinary artists who not only own restaurants of their own, they put their heads and talents together in passionate ways I'd never realized were part of the process in creating the meals we all so often pull from our freezer and pop in the microwave, never thinking twice about what goes into their making.

    I now know what goes into their making, thanks to the "Culinary Journey" led by Chef Lucien Vendôme for the 50 or so hungry bloggers invited to attend the private Lean Cuisine luncheon. Though I'm unfortunately unable to share with you the tastes of the day — and they were quite tasty! — I'd like to share my photos of our journey behind the scenes of Lean Cuisine.

    Chef Lucien — leader of the culinary team assembled for Lean Cuisine — kicked things off by describing what we would experience and learn:

    Honestly Good luncheon

    Then the experiencing and learning — and eating — began.

    We sampled the flavors that go into the new Honestly Good line of Lean Cuisine meals, starting with the sweet and fruity flavors...

    Honestly Good luncheon 

    Followed by the sauces...

    Lean Cuisine sauces 

    And the grains that go into the Lean Cuisine goods...

    Lean Cuisine grains 

    Then we devoured tasted two complete entrees from Lean Cuisine's Honestly Good line — followed by a luscious chocolate dessert made from, get this, black beans...

    Honestly Good entrees 

    We also met the chefs who worked behind the scenes to prepare our feast for the day.

    luncheon chefs 

    And throughout the sampling and eating we met the chefs I mentioned above, the masters who work day in and day out to create the Lean Cuisine line. We were treated to their stories as well as photos of what inspires them.

    Lean Cuisine chefs 

    The Lean Cuisine culinary journey inspired me to never again take a pre-packaged meal from the freezer without considering those who created the meal, the inspiration and passion they put into making fresh and flavorful easy-to-prepare meals for the rest of us.

    It also inspired me to share this journey with you — which was not a requirement of my attendance at the luncheon. Sure, I could have live tweeted the event, but aren't all these photos so much better than a tweet?

    Today's question:

    What's your favorite frozen meal or microwave food?

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    Reader Comments (10)

    My fave frozen/microwave meal is a chicken pot pie. You can take a girl out of the small town, but you can't take the small town out of a girl. Comfort food!

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnie Kelly

    My favorite is a roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, just a small portion of the Sunday meal I made many years ago, many times, for my large family when we were all together.

    Looks like you really did get a good "behind the scenes" lesson, thanks for sharing.

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    I don't eat frozen food/microwave food but I would be willing to try these new Lean Cuisine foods when they come out.

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    I like several Kashi frozen entrees, especially Black Bean Mango. All their foods have good grains and lots of healthy and tasty ingredients.

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBLissed-Out Grandma

    I don't often buy frozen dinners, but now that I am watching my infant grandaughterall day I can see the convienince of having a quick and nutrtious meal waiting in the freezer to be heated and served for Ny days I don't have the time or energy to cook. I will havd to check out the new Lean Cusine dinners, Lisa.

    My nephdw is a professional chef and he makes the most innovative and ddlicious foods for his clients...such imagination is s real talent!

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

    What a great session you had! I had no idea you saw and learned all of that. Very interesting. I guess I always took frozen meals for granted, like the frozen dinner fairy made it. I learned something new!

    Favorite frozen meal? Without my husband looking, Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Ice Cream. If he doesn't look, there's no calories in it, right?

    Great post.

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

    So interesting! Yes....much better than a tweet! I love that you took advantage of BlogHer offerings like this! And the photos of you and your girls with Wolfgang Puck are priceless! They sure look like their beautiful Mom!
    I rarely eat frozen or microwave foods.......I'm pretty fussy and a careful eater! I may warm my coffee or cook quick bacon strips for kiddos, but I have an aversion to microwave anything. AND....I don't let anyone stand in front of it! Frozen veggies are okay in a pinch.

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    I don't eat frozen dinners, but this post is very interesting, describing the "behind the scenes" work that goes on - things we don't usually think about.
    The picture of your family and Wolfgang is cool - what a nice guy - and he's looking very happy to be in the presence of such pretty girls!

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    That first picture is amazing -- none of you has aged 10 years! I really thought it was recent.

    I am a huge Lean Cuisine fan. I got hooked on them when I was temping and needed to have something handy for lunch on a moments notice. Now I really do eat them for lunch most days when Richard is working. They are convenient, portion and calorie controlled but most of all I like them! And I don't get the kitchen dirty for lunch foe one! The butternut squash one is probably my most favorite but they have 2 fish ones that I really like, too! Thanks for sharing some of the story behind the scenes.

    August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    I had the Lean Cuisine at BlogHer also and thought it was incredible. I have to say I am a fan of quick and easy and healthy and this hits all three buttons. Great post, Lisa.

    August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown
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