A Gourmet Evening with McDonald’s

chicken croquet

Last month I was treated to a different kind of meal. I ate a tapas-style diner, made entirely from ingredients from McDonald’s, prepared by Chef Stephanie Cmar. Yes, that Stephanie Cmar, executive chef of Fairstead Kitchen, and one half of one of my favorite donut and pop-tart purveyors, Party of Two. She’s also a former contestant at Bravo’s Top Chef.

Top Chef + McDonald’s? I’m in.

I’ve loved McDonald’s since I was a kid. I’ve been fascinated with its locally-adapted menus, which I discovered when I was in high school. I learned then that not all McDonald’s around the world serve fried chicken and rice like they do in the Philippines. The McDonald’s in Japan serve sushi. The ones in India serve vegetarian burgers. But they always have burgers and fries. And vanilla soft-serve, which is my favorite item on the menu. (Close second is the chicken nuggets.)

Somewhere between Michael Pollan and the clean eating movement, most of my peers started shunning McDonald’s. They think it’s evil. Food filled with chemicals. It’s not nourishing. But that’s not true. Over the years, McDonald’s have evolved its menu to include healthier options, and this dinner was proof that McDonald’s used fresh and wholesome ingredients. Real food.

stephanie cmar

Real food which Chef Stephanie turned into little gourmet plates.

fairstead kitchen

Our dinner was held at Fairstead Kitchen in Brookline. It was my first time there, but it certainly won’t be my last. I loved the décor and I already have my eye on the brunch menu.

We started the night with some mingling and light fare:

pineapple mango mocktail

A pineapple mango mocktail that is the most delicious mocktail I have ever tasted (and I would gladly forego cocktails in favor of this!)

french fries

And of course: a French fry bar. This is a McDonald’s event after all.

fairstead kitchen

We sat down at a long table, and dinner began. First up, Chicken Croquettes with Cilantro Lime Sauce, Cucumber and Peanut Salad, and Wilted Romaine Puree:

chicken croquette 1 chicken croquette 2

Remember my favorite chicken nuggets? They grew up and gained some sass.

Next, French Fry Gnocchi with Sausage and Beef Bolognese:

french fry gnocchi

This was excellent. Really meaty well-seasoned, I could’ve polished off another plate.

And then, my favorite part of any  meal: dessert! We had Homemade Donuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel:

stephanie cmar donuts

The donut was perfectly fluffy, and I loved the contrast of the salty-sweet caramel glaze and the sweet-tart cranberry drizzle.

I spent the evening with friends, laughing and eating, just like all the other times I frequented McDonald’s when I was younger. I don’t eat at McDonald’s as often as I used to but I’ll always have a soft spot for the golden arches.

mcdonalds donut

Thank you to Stephanie Cmar and McDonald’s New England for letting me experience McDonald’s food in a different light, and reminding me of all my happy meals there over the years!

All photos were taken by my talented friend, Debbie Grubstein (check out her blog!)

This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. Thank you for supporting Confessions of a Chocoholic and the brands that support this blog.


16 Responses to “A Gourmet Evening with McDonald’s”

  1. #
    Sues posted January 11, 2016 at 8:40 am

    What a great event and a delicious-looking and educational post!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you, I appreciate that!

  2. #
    Topaz Horizon posted January 11, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Oh, Bianca, you always make food sound so amazing. Your relationship with it is so loving and intimate. Thanks for sharing with us your love affair!!!

    P.S. Why didn’t I see you when you were in Manila???

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Frances! Aww thank you so much for your comment. And I’m sorry we didn’t get to see each other over the holidays! Hopefully we can have a mini reunion with the Summit ladies next time :) Hope all is well. xo

  3. #
    Molly Galler posted January 11, 2016 at 11:06 am

    What a fun evening! No matter what any book or article says, I still think their French fries and M+M McFlurry can’t be beat.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Their french fries can’t be beat. In fact I’m craving the, right now!

  4. #
    Daisy posted January 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Why are there all these horrible “rumors” about what they make those chicken nuggets with?! I steer clear of those, but will admit am a total sucker for their fries and a cheeseburger. What a fun night!!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Wish you were there! I totally want fries right now haha

  5. #
    Meghan posted January 11, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Looks interesting!

  6. #
    grace posted January 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

    you had me at ‘french fry bar’… what a neat event! it’s nice to see the mcdonald’s brand associated with something pleasant!

  7. #
    Kelly posted January 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Oh my gosh, this looked like so much fun!These dishes are so creative!

  8. #
    Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes posted January 14, 2016 at 12:35 am

    OK this is such a cool idea!! I love it! And now I want some Micky D’s fries :)

  9. #
    David | Spiced posted January 14, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Wow, what a fun idea! I’ve also always been fascinated with various fast food menus. Whenever we travel to different countries, I always like to sneak a peak at the menus. I’m digging how Stephanie came up with such awesome meals using McDonald’s food. And I also want a french fry bar for lunch. :-)

  10. #
    Monica posted January 14, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    This was fascinating! I have a soft spot for the golden arches, too. I always think they have the best fries though when I do have it on rare occasions these days, it’s not the way I remembered it as a kid. But that’s okay. : ) Looks like a fun night and love those super puffy, fluffy donuts.

  11. #
    Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness posted January 16, 2016 at 8:19 am

    What an interesting idea!! I can’t believe it was made entirely from McDonalds

  12. #
    Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop posted January 17, 2016 at 9:42 am

    What an interesting evening! Love how the “regular” food was transformed into gourmet dishes!

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