The Tasting Room™ @ The Culinary Center of Kansas City is the latest vision of Laura Laiben, The Main Dish and founder of The Culinary Center of Kansas City. Her goal was to expand the concept of a ‘tasting room’ beyond the ones found at vineyards she has visited in wine countries around the world. Like, why should they have all the fun right? At vineyards, customers stop by to gather, learn about wines, how they’re made and what ingredients are used and these wine tastings are often paired with chef-made bites.
So the Main Dish decided to turn that idea upside down (which she is often known to do). Her vision was to create a similar gathering place for people who want to learn about food, interact with chefs and beverage pros, discover new flavors and techniques plus learn how food can be enjoyed with perfectly paired wine, and beer, and cocktails. The plan is to start on Saturdays and eventually expand into the evenings. Other evenings are also on the table, if the community embraces this concept. You get the picture.
The First Bite
Designed to provide an on-going culinary experience, including free tastings, this weekly food & beverage pairing event launched with a bang on Saturday, July 10th. The inaugural event featured a study of the all-American grilled cheese sandwich. This will be the theme through all July. Each Saturday from 10am to 2pm, a different Chef Instructor will show you their ‘take’ on the perfect cheesy sandwich. Plus, they will flex their cheffy muscles to design an original take on this classic sandwich. For example, at the launch event, Chef Sandy DiGiovanni created a killer grilled cheese she calls the “Mexican French Dip.” This sandwich included the slow-cooked shredded beef found in birria tacos, pickled onions, roasted jalapeno on sourdough bread. Excuse me while I take a moment to think about THAT combo!
Not Just Food
As if it wouldn’t be ok to stop at cheesy goodness, a beverage pro will also hand out tastings of perfectly paired beers, craft cocktails, wines or mocktails. No Saturday will taste the same and yes, free tastings will flourish. The food focus will shift every 4-6 weeks when a whole new culinary dish will be explored. Think street tacos, French fries, mac-n-cheese, pizza, bacon, Asian ‘bowls’, ice-cream, apple desserts and the like. It’s a whole new tasty Saturday experience every time a customer visits.
In addition to free tastings of food & beverage pairings, customers can purchase full sandwiches, beverage flights, craft cocktails, local beers and sweet treats and then settle into a table on our ‘front porch’ or inside to enjoy their food and practice the fine art of Saturday people watching. Also on tap will be ongoing special events such as on-site knife sharpening, trunk shows and cookbook author appearances. The July 10th launch event included an appearance by The Edge Doctor and a 2-for-1 knife sharpening special. He sharpened over 50 sad knives while customers tasted and explored the Kitchen Shop Experience.
For this upcoming week, July 17th, Mean Mule Distilling Co. will be an added attraction, pouring samples of their Silver and Gold tequila to go with our Guava Nice Day Margaritas.
Come On In, Y’all
Look for our BIG “Tastings Today” flag flying on Santa Fe Street. When this is out, The Tasting Room is open! We invite you to stop by any Saturday to enjoy the food and drinks, explore and relax on your day out and about. While you’re here enjoy our Kitchen Shop Experience featuring uniquely curated kitchen essentials and foodie treasures. Look for other surprises like cookies, muffins, samples of our chef-prepared frozen foods and special one-day deals!
The Tasting Room
@ The Culinary Center of Kansas City