Billotto brings culinary expertise to Mint Hill Arts

Heidi Billotto demonstrated her culinary skills at Mint Hill Arts. She arranged vegetable bouquets and provided a hands-on learning experience.

Heidi Billotto brought her culinary expertise to Mint Hill Arts May 22.  The food writer, reviewer, instructor, and caterer offered a free lecture and demonstration on culinary arts.
Surrounded by heaps of limes, oranges, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, Billotto cut curves and lines into produce to produce beautiful dinner party decorations.  Zigzagging her knife, she displayed blooming onions, blossoming peppers, tulip carrots, and rose tomatoes.  The bouquet was presented in a watermelon basket.  Cucumbers were sliced into leaves to add to the vegetable foliage.
Billotto dished out useful food tips as she sliced and arranged.  For example, purple peppers turn green when cooked.  Mushrooms should not be washed, but instead wiped with a paper towel, as they absorb water and will brown prettier when not soaked.  The oil in onions reacts with oxygen to make eyes water, and most of the oil is concentrated in the root end.  To avoid tearing up in the kitchen, cut off the top of the onion, peel it, and throw away the root end.  To present a bloomin’ onion and avoid the strong smell, soak the onion in cold water before presentation.  When cutting designs, as Billotto did with swirls in her mushroom caps, odd numbers look better than even numbers.  Try five swirls instead of four.
Billotto entertained her Mint Hill audience as she instructed them.  She expertly provided culinary lessons, patiently assisted her students, and provided some laughs along the way.
Billotto offers lessons in her home as well as private sessions.  She is featured in the local magazine Charlotte Living.

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