Beef is what’s for dinner at the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage at BottleRock 2024

by Gavin Meichelbock

This article is part of BruinLife’s BottleRock music festival coverage happening from May 24-26, 2024.

The festival sees the return of the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage, which is being hosted by Liam Mayclem, an Emmy-winning radio and TV personality famous for the CBS 5 show, “Eye On the Bay.” Mayclem is joined by musicians, athletes, actors and celebrity chefs as they cook some of their favorite meals in front of a live audience. One such special guest to enter the star-studded kitchen was Cameron Diaz and her friend and co-founder of Avaline wines, Katherine Power.

Audiences crowded as the two took the culinary stage. Mayclem asked them about their wine label, and Diaz replied by saying that her and Power’s friendship is because of wine. Diaz went on to say that they set out to make the wine they want to drink, which is why they created their own brand of rosé. When asked when she drinks Avaline wine, Diaz said that any time of the day is good for her and also that she prefers to drink her rosé with ice cubes — a controversial opinion to say the least. To this, Mayclem began to chant, “rosé all day,” the slogan of that particular event.

As for the food, Diaz said she was inspired by her Cuban heritage and decided to make a Cubano-sandwich-inspired smashburger. Since the sandwich is traditionally pork-based, Diaz added ground pork to the beef patties. She then pointed out how you cannot do a wet marinade with ground meat, so that is why she used a dry marinade on her patties with citrus zest, ground herbs and spices. It was at this point Mayclem decided Diaz needed help and brought out the rapper Nelly. Upon entering the stage, Nelly said he is useless in the kitchen and then proceeded to just stand to the side for the rest of the show.

Once it became time to make the burger topping, Diaz told the audience that they can make a quick pickle by pouring pickle juice over whatever they want and leaving it in the fridge overnight. Mayclem then brought out a second guest who did contribute to the making of the burgers, Tinx. The influencer helped Diaz make the aioli for the burgers by crumbling plantain chips into a mayonnaise-based mixture. After this step was completed, Diaz told Tinx it didn’t matter because it was all pre-made.

Since this was a smashburger, Diaz proceeded to smash the patties. To this, Nelly humored the audience, saying the meat smasher is “fly” and that he “is the meat pounder.” Once the patties were smashed, Diaz added more of the Cubano sandwich elements in the form of ham and Swiss cheese. As the cheese melted, Diaz took the aioli from earlier and applied it to the burger buns. Mayclem asked Nelly if he has ever aioli-ed his buns, to which he paused before saying no. Diaz then assembled the burger, smashed it down and then pulled pre-made burgers out from the oven behind her. The group shared the delicious meal they all worked to create, with Tinx crowing it a perfect 10.

Image courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley
Cameron Diaz, rapper Nelly and co-founder of Avaline wines, Katherine Power pose in front of Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage as crowds cheer on. Image courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley.
Cameron Diaz, Nelly and her friend and co-founder of Avaline wines, Katherine Power.
Cameron Diaz, rapper Nelly and co-founder of Avaline wines, Katherine Power. Image courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley

The Culinary Stage’s closing act was a dual performance from celebrity chef Tyler Florence and the drummer of Mötley Crüe, Tommy Lee.

Tyler Florence, Liam Mayclem, a helping chef and Tommy Lee eat slices of meat at the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage.
Tyler Florence, Liam Mayclem, a helping chef and Tommy Lee eat slices of meat at the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage. Photographed by Gavin Meichelbock/BruinLife

Although this culinary exposition was less crowded than the previous one, Florence and Lee filled the crowd by playing to the cheap seats. When asked by the host what he wanted to make, Lee answered with one word: tomahawks. The three of them went behind the counter and Florence began cutting into a rack of loin tomahawk steaks. This particular cut of cow, Florence said, came from a special farm he partnered with for his restaurants where the meat is dry-aged for 45 days. Florence then showed off the marbling of the meat, to which the audience went wild.

When it came to cooking such a delectable piece of meat, or any piece of meat, Florence said to never use pepper as it will burn during the cooking process. Florence proceeded to prep the steak with olive oil and salt. Lee then placed the tomahawks on the pan and the smell was infatuating to audience members close enough to the stage. Another chef came on stage to take over cooking the steaks as Florence and Lee moved on to make a mocktail.

To make the mocktail, the two combined ginger beer, lime juice and a non-alcoholic drink from AMASS. Florence said although AMASS is just water, its infusion with botanicals gives it a smell similar to gin. After the mocktail was mixed, Florence and Lee made a green peppercorn sauce for the meat. The chef added shallots, thyme, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and olive oil to a pan, and the delectable aroma wafted washed over the first few rows of audience members. Lee then flambéed the sauce before Florence added heavy cream, dijon mustard, honey and pepper.

The steaks were then rested in dry-aged beef tallow before being cut at a 45-degree angle. Florence began handing out slices of meat when Neil Patrick Harris burst onto the stage, grabbed a slice and made a joke about this being the greatest piece of meat he has ever put in his mouth. Florence then presented Lee with two bones from the steaks to use as drumsticks. Lee played a clunky beat with the bones and broke one of them as he finished his solo. As the night came to a close, Florence began chucking pieces of meat into the crowd for them to enjoy.

The Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage shows off amazing talent audiences cannot wait to see more of at BottleRock 2024’s second day.

Featured Image courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley

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