Auction of Washington Wines...

our dish as it lay basking in the sunlight

Weekend before last in the squelching heat of about 95 degrees, I was invited again to be a guest chef at the largest wine auction in the state; The Auction of Washington Wines held at Washington Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Washington, benefiting Children's Hospital and un-compensated care.
Matt & Josh... at our table waiting to get started!
We raised approximately over $2.3 million this year, which was totally awesome given the fact that the economy for most, is in the toilet, the real estate market has taken a bath of late, and most importantly to our livelihood as chef's...our business levels have been down given those factors, all-the-while with somewhat of a bleak outlook on our immediate future! All in all, it is not quite as bad as perhaps it may sound or as other parts of the country, but it is not the greatest, and it was certainly a surprise to raise that much. Our part in the auction was to serve one of the three special hors d'oeuvres concocted by Rachel Yang of Joule, Adam Stevenson from Earth and Ocean and myself, in which I brought along a couple "cuisiniers" from our atelier. Rachel, a quiet, young, polite chef whom I was honored and fortunate to make her acquaintance that evening, served up a very simple, yet extremely tasty venison tartare moistened with what seemed like a touch of fish sauce and soy, then laced with chilies, spices and pepper which gave it a bit of a Korean infused kick. This all sat in a nice quenelle on a disk of marinated pear, then on a spoon. Simple, elegant, sexy and nice! Inspired by her flavor, and some good press, it inspired me to go there last Friday for a GREAT birthday dinner! Adam, and his cohort, had a nice and refreshing "gazpacho shooter", very summery and light and reminiscent of the garden, that was flanked by a small skewer of salumi, and a tantalizing fresh Dungeness Crab Salad "Panzanella". He also had brought a "gross piece" of house made hog salumi, which was hella cool. He and I shared thoughts, ideas and concepts about both of our house made salumi programs, having both entered the Seattle salumi-fest last year with great results. My "symphony of tastes" was a play on one of my favorite combinations...foie gras and scallops!
We seared the scallops, and served it with a silky and rich hudson valley foie gras mousse, which sat on top of a savory olive oil sponge, a summer peach relish adorned with anise hyssop, house brined and smoked duck ham, a pedro ximenez reduction and sea salt. A bit much on the tongue, but definitely not for the mouth! It was sublime. The hors d'oeuvre ensemble was stellar to say the least. Some helpers of the event commented that the hors chefs should have done the dinner and visa versa. Unfortunately except for a couple dishes, the served dinner after the reception was not very soigne. I do not want to talk negatively about colleagues or other chefs of respected establishments, but I will just say that if I was dropping 1000 large to dine per person, I would be saddened and disappointed, if not quite upset. I am not saying I am perfect, hell...far from it, but I know I care about my food, I care about the flavor and I care about the technique, no matter if it is for 1 person or 1000, or if I am getting $1000. per person or a dollar. In my perspective, you do it right and with all your heart and soul, or don't do it at all. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of the dishes of the dinner, only the reception as there was just not an opportunity or time. I enjoyed working with the likes of Wayne Johnson from Andaluca, who did a nice chorizo stuffed quail with creamy polenta, Bobby Moore and Christina Longo from Barking Frog who served up the dessert of "Seastack" Cheese cake, honeyed compote of peaches, figs and fig macaron and my longtime friend and team member; Micah Windham, whom was on hand to help plate up and orchestrate the dessert for his wife; Christina and Charles Ramseyer and John Sarich for organizing such a big event and undertaking all the BS that goes along with it. Sure, there were many un-named helpers, students, young cooks and "partners in crime" who were there to help raise money and make this whole beast come to fruition, (which it did and with great success) that will unfortunately go nameless, as we just did not have the chance to communicate much during the dinner. My hat is off to you all for helping out for such a great cause.

The kitchen battery of stoves, ovens, warming boxes and convections


plating in action...


the last dish...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa, big name seattle chefs hacking out the dishes, do tell

4:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, tight looking scallop dish, whats the haps on the olive oil sponge component chef?

4:27:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

not sure about the anon thing?...all in all, it was a great time. Needless to say, everyone was seemingly working towards and for a great cause, no matter the outcome or output of their food. What do you mean about "whats the haps"? Are you asking why I chose that or why olive oil? Well, I chose the evoo sponge as a component to aid in the overall flavor profile and add a gentle smoothness to the dish and serve as a nice foil underliner base to work off of. Originally, we thought we were going to be serving it onto plates, therefore, needing a "vessel" or "platform" to pick up, yet when we arrived, we noticed that we were given stacks of small serving plates so we could actually plate right onto the dish initially.

11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, i men is the evoo sponge a foam in the el bulli sense or a genoise

12:57:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

no worries at all. the sponge is a genoise style, in that we incorporate the evoo into the emulsion and bake. We added chopped anise hyssop and smoked paprika for a bit of savoriness. Are you in the area?

1:56:00 AM  

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