Over the last few days, we were blessed with the opportunity to cook for a couple of special groups of friends and foodies for some special occasions. Is this NOT what we as cooks love to do most? To just cook!?! To become inspired...to exude our inner passion about food...to put it all, our reputations on the line for those that enjoy it!?! Well, that is what takes place in our kitchen, and god help us...always will! One dinner was a special birthday celebration while the other was a chef's table for a family enjoying a 20th anniversary and a 12th birthday. Each were different and each enjoyable on our end and to no end. On one hand, we had a large group with a time constraint, high expectations and the need to pull this together without sacrifice. We were moving, loving it and didn't disappoint. Like clockwork it was. The latter, more relaxed and here for the duration. We conversed...exchanged past experiences...shared stories and laughed, especially about the term "virgin" when I was explaining a dish to the table and the 12-year old birthday girl; sweet as turbinado, asked about what that meant. That is another story in itself, in which I indicated that I would let her mother explain that one. I think they heard us laughing as far as Portland about that one. Here are the crafted dishes from start to finish, from one dinner to the next, from me to you. I hope you enjoy the visual!
Ahi Tuna Tartare "High Heels"
preserved ginger, bronze fennel, blood orange olive oil
Maine Lobster "Martini"
elderflower compressed cantaloupe, opal basil, golden caviar
lobster vinaigrette and a coconut-lime granite
Crudo of Mediterranean Daurade
yuzu cured, togarashi, cara cara oranges, purple mizuna, cucumber-watermelon radish composure, meyer lemon sabayon
Seared Diver Scallop
tea smoked chicken, peas, braised ramps, honshimejii, tatsoi
and a foie gras nage
Local Ling Cod Sous Vide
glazed pork belly, fava beans, carrot creamed nettles, walnuts
crispy shallots and a spring garlic jus
Pan Roasted Loin of Lamb
baby leek-apple puree, rhubarb braised turnips, grilled king trumpet
rissole potatoes "boulangere" and an aromatic lamb jus
chocolate pot de creme, coconut cupcake, pistachio financier, lemon pudding cake
various fruits, ice creams and sorbets of the moment...
Maine Lobster "Slider" Amuse
bruleed lobster, shaved mango, american sturgeon caviar, shiso
ginger-soy aioli, scallion puree and lotus root "fries"
King Salmon Salad Sous Vide
fennel pollen crusted, heart of palm, bronze fennel, shiitake chips
and a chilled asparagus "vichyssoise" boisson
Herb Seared Atlantic Fluke
seared foie gras, braised ramps, peas, lemon-parsley "panzanella"
and a foie gras nage
Seared Sea Scallop & 12-Hour Cooked Sumac Glazed Wild Boar
baby carrot-purple mizuna stew, spring garlic, honshimejii, carrot emulsion
rhubarb dressed cantaloupe, avocado, opal basil, coconut-lime granite Pan Roasted Loin of Lamb