Watch and learn
We arrived with plenty of time to spare and walked around the supply store. With more than 130,000 items on virtual and physical shelves, the supplier has everything a restaurateur needs from kitchen instruments and machinery to furniture to barware—and it’s all offered to the public, too.
Amid the cookware, cutting boards, and kitchen tools, I spotted a rainbow wall of KitchenAid Mixers. “Wow,” I said to Matt. “That’s got to be an exhaustive display of all the colors.”
“Yep,” Matt agreed with my slight hyperbole. “All the colors.”
When the time came, we headed to the cooking demonstration class; the ingredients were staged in the kitchen and the table was set.
We watched the chef cook and while discussing the steps, he shared his knowledge of organic herbs and vegetables. My mouth watered as he built a kilt salad with Benton’s Smoky Mountain Bacon.
“The bacon is dry cured with salt and brown sugar,” he said as my nose perked up at the aroma of sizzling pork, “then, it’s smoked in a wood stove.”
“Think we can one-up this meal tomorrow?” Matt asked me after the demonstration ended and we were noshing on braised pork cheeks.
“Ha!” I said, “Not a chance, but we can definitely give our new knives a try.” On our way back to the cabin, we stopped at a grocery store to stock up the kitchen.
The next afternoon, we cooked pork chops and apples—adding the Spicy Sweet Bourbon Glaze from Pepper Palace. I knew the knives would be an improvement over the tools we had at home, but I underestimated the joy of slicing through food with a balanced, precision instrument. Beyond smooth!
We ate at the patio table, looking out over the mountains. I felt content and more relaxed than I had in a long time.
“Is this what you had in mind showing me Sevierville?” Matt asked.
“Not at all!” I answered honestly. I had no idea we’d power through a pepper challenge, shop for knives and dinosaur teeth and watch a professional chef in action. “But I’m thrilled with how the trip turned out.”