Prepare whipped topping:
Prepare candied almond crumbs:
Chef Di’s SportsBites: If I were their Chef series has a temporary home on our Melting Pot Tour’s blog, during this new season of world football (soccer) and spectacular recipes! These stories typically honor the Chef’s favorite international players of the sport, each of whom inspires a recipe that is her gift to them ... to thank them for making the world more beautiful. This week's muse is Phil Schoen, broadcaster extraordinaire for beIN Sports US.
The following actually happened in May. This story is so past due and, so important to share.
I am doing just that, coincidentally, during the week of this man’s birthday.
Mr. Phil Schoen - whom I call The Vin Scully of world football - and I first “met” in 2009. Perhaps poking around Facebook after having been romanced by GOL TV (his former network) one day, I found Mr. Schoen.
Humbly yet boldly, I sent a message. Everything about his brilliant broadcasting - especially his great voice - made me love this network, and I told him so.
He very kindly thanked me, “blushing”, and we became Facebook friends.
Now he is one of the finest voices of Florida-based beIN Sports US, and his are still some of my favorite Facebook posts. Wise humor, comments, and stories sharing insightful expertise, always spark riveting conversations that I love.
For years, I’d clamored for him to come to LA and experience our food culture (at least), with me as his host.
Monday, 4 May, was my father’s earthly birthday. At 10pm a little voice said, go play on Facebook. Curious ... maybe this was my (American) football-fanatic-dad’s gift to me on his birthday.
Instantly I learned that Phil Schoen was not only in Los Angeles, he kindly responded to my, Let’s do lunch!
We made breakfast plans for Tres by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel.
For me, heaven was brought down to earth, that next morning. We shared life experiences ranging from international travels to family moments, passion for Barcelona, his native Austrians’ settlement in Peru, summer South American plans with his beautiful family, on and on. I felt incredibly blessed for this experience, while everything about Tres was positively 5-star!
I also very kindly received his guidance for possibly moving forward a very important (SportsBites style) proposal. We brainstormed some ideas together; I have ongoing homework to do. (The rest of that is under wraps for now!)
Another whisper followed all that ~ to create a new recipe that would ideally capture his unique essence.
In my kitchen that week sat a bowl of apples, hopefully expectant. He’d seemed intrigued when I shared that - in another life - I’d made applesauce for Vin Scully.
I adore apple desserts. I had a feeling this new one could be extraordinary.
If I were his Chef, I’d divine an exquisite French-style apple cake ... classy, elegant ... representing his unique brand of savoir faire - sophistication, social grace, everything fine gentleman. His family values, worldly intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, generosity ... yes, oui, si’ ~ this man deserves a recipe that honors it all.
While the cake alone would be exquisite, I wouldn’t stop there.
A spiced, creamy whipped topping with a pinch of sweet Spanish pimenton (paprika) is about fine - and simple - pleasures, including the spice of life. He appreciates all of that, as naturally as breathing.
Finally I’d sprinkle each serving with some crushed Marcona almonds, “candied” with orange.
This almond finish is what I call very ole’ ~ sweet and citrusy. It also nods to Spain, especially because he couldn’t resist Marcona almonds in Barcelona.
One day I will inevitably present this gift - which is extraordinary, by the way! - to my wonderful friend, in person. Meanwhile, I hope it’s enough that he knows how profoundly grateful I am.
My wish of meeting him in LA came to amazing life, and our seemingly-sacred conversation will always be a keeper.
I am here to say that the world is surely more beautiful, and just better, for Phil Schoen having been born.
Happy birthday, young man ~ I hope all of your dreamiest wishes come true!
Until next time, I remain ~
Your Chef and Tour Maestra,