In the Kitchen and the Garden with Debra

On September 28, Les Délices will host our annual benefit event. This year, the event is titled All the Pleasures, and will be a celebration of all the wonderful pursuits that make our lives a little brighter. Beautiful music will accompany delicious food and fine conversation music in the lovely setting of the Shaker Heights Country Club. There will be a silent auction featuring items ranging from baseball tickets to a private meal.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this beautiful event.

Purchase your tickets now!

In the weeks leading up to our fête, we are going to feature each of our artists so you can get to know them better. Today, we start with our fearless leader, Debra Nagy.

Debra Nagy performs on the baroque oboe

Les Délices’ artistic director Debra is unquestionably a talented human. You may know that she is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, at home in repertoire from medieval to classical to jazz, and that she performs at home and abroad as one of our country’s foremost baroque oboists. You may also know that she leads Les Délices with passion, generosity, and and a savvy mind for business. But did you also know that when she’s not doing all of those things, she loves to cook? Or that she is very pleased to have successfully grown asparagus? Read on to learn a little more about some of the pleasures that Debra enjoys in her off-time.

If you were an 18th century person of leisure, of all the pleasures, how would you prefer to pass your time?

I think the pleasures of the garden could be among the most delightful. Admiring the fountains, sculptures, sculpted topiary, surprising symmetriesof course, chatting with a friend along the way is nice too!

As a 21st century person, how do you prefer to pass your time when you aren’t working?

Cooking is my passion.

[Editor’s note: Your humble editor can vouch for this. Debra’s kitchen is a place of joy and deliciousness. Did you know you’ll have a chance in the benefit’s silent auction to bid on a private, home-cooked meal experience with Debra? Not to be missed!]

What is your favorite thing to make and what do you enjoy about it?

I couldn’t possibly pick one thing! But I will say that my sweet tooth is rather limited and I’m not real big on desserts as a result. I’ve been very into modern Israeli cooking in the past few years.

Have you ever tried any 18th century recipes? If so, what have you made and how did it go?

I must admit that I have notbut perhaps after I spend more time with recipe songs in Les Festins Joyeux [From 1738, a few of which are featured on our All the Pleasures programs] I may well do so! I should say that the recipes are not very specific with regard to quantities(!), but I think they should be quite manageable for a cook with some experience!

What was your greatest kitchen success or failure?

It’s only happened once or twice that I had to admit failure in the kitchen, throw the food in the garbage, and drown my sorrows in some local pizza and beerÔǪbut it has happened! The failure I recall most vividly was trying to recreate a cauliflower and mung bean curry that a friend had made.

Do you enjoy gardening and what do you enjoy about it?

Yes! The magic that something that comes from a tiny seed can produce so much bio mass! Whether it’s a flower, tomato, herbs, eggplant, it’s kind of miraculous.

What are you most proud of in your garden?

It takes some patience (which is to say, waiting) and a fair amount of benign neglect, but I’m thrilled to have asparagus in my garden.

We hope you have a happy harvest this fall, Debra!

Purchase your tickets, and stay tuned! Next week, we’ll be getting to know bowed bass player Steuart Pincombe!