For those that know them...you know the story. For those that do not~ picture lavish parties for the "better thans", free flowing expensive wines from hundreds of dusty cellars worth more than some may see in a lifespan, tuxedos and evening gowns, ribbons and medallions around the necks to the likes of foreign military heroes, a savage culinary feast fit for the royal family and huge brigades of le cuisine
& le salle
worthy enough to make Escoffier
himself sit up out of his grave and take note! This is the Chaine des Rotisseurs
. A colossal sized entourage of food and wine enthusiasts, gourmands and connoisseurs, snobs and aficionados alike all out for the pursuit of a good time in the sake of grape and beast! They are doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women, philanthropists and philosophers, chefs, winemakers and those associated with the hospitality industry, typically with spouses in tow. It is a strange mix, one that does not measure up as food and wine professionals, but more so as advocates of, and in certain cases, act as if they were. What takes place in cities, states, and countries all around the globe are gatherings of "the Chaine" as they are dubbed, to enjoy and support the cooking of local talent while pairing wines from their seemingly bottomless cellars in styles of grandeur! Good times. They are a group founded in 1248 by a cluster of "roasters", most likely just looking for others to share in the importance of food and wine and the pleasures it brings us. Whatever the case, after almost a 300 year hiatus in the mid 17-1900's, they returned in full force, fueled with a mission and a passion to bring back the days of old. I have done many Chaine dinners in my career and other than having to listen to a "non-professional" tell me that a particular garniture does not fit the protein or a different sauce is more appropriate or that a different color is needed, it is a great opportunity to cook great food, do what we want and enjoy a sincere appreciation for the craft. The good thing for me is I don't always listen to that critique. What ever! I don't try to tell the winemaker how to make his or her wines, or tell a doctor how to operate, or a lawyer which tactic to use in a courtroom. Just let me man up and cook the way I know how to. This dinner was dedicated to our great team of cuisiniers and service who continually make me shine and have my back. I am forever in your debt. Thank you. Here is how it went down...
Marinated Shrimp & Watermelon Amuse
baby fennel, lychee, pea blossoms, yuzu-vanilla-lobster oil dressingRas el Hanout Cured Foie Gras "Torchon"
rhubarb batonette, roasted onion puree, apricto conserve, rhubarb gastric
Pan Roasted Mediterranean Branzino
grilled abalone mushrooms, rice bean-truffle ragout, house cured pancetta, white asparagus
Mostarda Brushed American Bison Loin
morels, fig braised ramps, crispy puffed quinoa, fava bean pesto, cocoa-espresso emulsion
and a smoked valrhona manjari essence
house preserved bing cherries, dukkah spices, micro anise hyssop
warm salted marcona almond-px "caramel"
Bittersweet Valrhona Sabayon "Crunch"
hazelnut-citrus torte, ovendried strawberries, wild blackberry-thyme sorbet, orange caramel