Carmel Valley Chef Grace Abdo to be featured at Macy’s cooking class

Carmel Valley resident Grace Abdo, chef and founder of La Reine des Macarons (in French, “The Queen of Macarons”) has been invited by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room to feature her gourmet, gluten-free food delicacy at a “Rising Star” cooking class series on Saturday, Dec. 28. The event begins at noon at the Macy’s Home Store in Westfield Mission Valley mall, 1555 Camino del la Reina in San Diego. Arrive 15 minutes early to secure a seat. In her “French Macarons on the Spice Trail” cooking class, chef Abdo will demonstrate how to make French macarons utilizing exotic flavors and pure spices that were traded on the historic spice trail as far back as the 15th century.

Abdo will integrate curry and cinnamon into two macaron recipes: Fresh hummus with black kalamata olives, feta cheese and curry; and caramelized and sun-dried tomatoes with Parmesan cheese and cinnamon.

“The spice trail refers to the trade between ancient civilizations in Asia, northeast Africa, Mexico, and Europe. During the 15th century, only six spices were known: pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron and vanilla,” Abdo explained. “In fact, by the end of the 15th century, spices had the highest monetary value of all currency, and large debts were paid in pepper because it was so rare. Initially, it was the Portuguese that discovered their value. Then these spices were sold around the world and to the Roman Empire by Arab traders. Adding pure spices to food was the ultimate symbol of wealth and sophistication, and people were willing to pay anything to get hold of them. I think it is time for a spice revival, and what better place to start than with artisan French macarons?”

Abdo is a registered clinical dietitian and food consultant who graduated from the Paul Bocuse Institute in France, where she learned the fine art of making French macarons. The macaron is an almond- and meringue-based sandwich-style confection. Abdo creates flavor combinations that incorporate only the freshest herbs, flowers, spices and local ingredients. Gift boxes of savory and sweet French macarons from La Reine des Macarons will be available for purchase at the end of the class. Cash, check, and credit cards are welcome.

Admission to the Macy’s cooking class is limited to 100 guests on a first-come, first-served basis. The entrance fee is a $5 cash donation that benefits the San Diego Food Bank. Chef Bernard will assist Abdo with her presentation and she will provide samples for all participants. For more information, visit, email grace@lareinedesmacarons or call (858) 243-4570.