Mardi Gras cooking demonstration to be led by Chef MZ

Chef Marco Zapien will host an interactive cooking demonstration with a Lent friendly menu in a Mardi Gras atmosphere at his restaurant in Pico Rivera. The class will take place at Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria in Pico Rivera on Wednesday March 12 from Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Approximately 50 participants will learn how to make a special meal for their sweethearts as they cook alongside Chef MZ, co-owner and executive chef at “The Grill.”

Menu items include Coctel de Camaron, Nopales Salad, Tacos de Pescado and Chile Rellenos. For dessert, guests will learn how to make Bailey’s Arroz Con Leche, which is White rice steamed in a Bailey’s cinnamon cream served with bunuelos.

Each class participant will enjoy all-you-can eat of the items demonstrated, plus menus and step-by-step directions to take home. In addition, guests will receive a complimentary meal on their next visit.

Chef MZ has been planning and hosting food demonstrations for the last three years, beginning with a Super Bowl themed night for those entertaining or cooking for the big game in 2011. Since then, he has hosted several themed shows including holiday and summer entertaining.

The number of registrants has steadily grown from around 20 people at a demonstration to 50 participants. There are even some returners who can’t get enough.

“We don’t miss a class,” said Pico Rivera resident, Lisa Martinez. “Every time it’s different, exciting. My husband comes with me to each show now.”

Since the cooking demonstrations began, Chef MZ has been connecting with people who want to entertain on their own terms, letting them in on his creative menu ideas, seasoning secrets and shortcuts in the kitchen.

Food lovers have flocked to his restaurant for more than 18 years. Some claim the restaurant has the best carnitas or enchiladas, while others argue it’s the mole or menudo. Whatever the case, it’s gained a following.

In October, The Grill was named “Best Mexican in the L.A. area” for the seventh straight year by Los Angeles Hot List voters.

His cooking demo menus, however, go beyond Mexican food. In November, the Thanksgiving demo included chipotle roasted turkey and Dutch yellow potato mash with roasted garlic.

Chef MZ is also the owner of Black Tie & Blue Jeans Creative Catering and is a corporate chef for Melissa’s World Variety Produce.

Registration is limited. For a complete menu and to register for The Salsa Grill’s Mardi Gras cooking class, visit www.thesalsagrill.com.