The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival will be honoring both Martha and the Mondavi winemakers at its annual tribute brunch this Sunday, and the aforementioned honorees are preparing the meal.
It is no doubt a thrill for these chefs to be cooking brunch for the Mondavis and Martha. The latter is known for being a multimedia lifestyle entrepreneur. But back in the early Eighties, while working as a freelance chef for a number of elite New York caterers, I witnessed firsthand her substantial contribution to the catering industry, which has generally gone unnoted. This was well before the current glut of food magazines, Websites, and cookbooks were unleashed, so there was a relatively small pool of contemporary recipe and presentation ideas from which to borrow. Martha's landmark book, Entertaining, published in 1982, was one of the first of its kind, and so often utilized by caterers that when attending functions in future years I'd spot certain canapes and recall what page number they came from. Blue cheese mousse on Belgian endive points? That was Martha!
Which is why I, too, would select Ms. Stewart as my hypothetical island companion. Ideally, though, the Mondavis would drop by from time to time and restock the wine coolers.