Our chef's tables at the club are a special thing. No doubt about it~no denying it. It is where one can really experience a work of art in taste, texture and flavor come to fruition created by those that are passionate about their craft and happy to create for those that are into food and eating. We have done a handful of completely vegan chefs tables in the past and for sure a bunch of vegetarian as well, but most are full-on protein, dairy and richness! But this one was all about the vegan approach. I embrace it always...why not? Some chefs cringe at the thought. Some despise the notion and some run for the damn door. I do not understand it really. I have written about this concept before a few times and as a chef, I am baffled by the thought of being intimidated by it, or worse, just not wanting to cook for them at all. I get excitement by it...the sheer idea of being able to create a dish or in this case a 9-course menu with only vegetables and their counterparts, is a cool invigorating challenge. Our dishes on any menu consist of a protein or two-ish and a plethora of supporting vegetal actors, all in which contribute to the overall flavor of the dish and the success or failure of them. How can we as chefs look away from using beautiful, farm grown, hand harvested, loved and nurtured vegetables as a component in harmony and sum of it's parts or as a focal part all on their own? I do not personally eat vegetarian or vegan at all...I love pork, fish, game, cheeses and dairy, but I understand the argument to eat without. I do not discriminate, but rather encourage as our team is all about the art and love of cooking, and without prejudice. That doesn't mean I don't get irritated in the middle of a large event or service and after 45 minutes into the meal, service tells us that there is a vegan in the crowd and now we need to back track and start over. That shit sucks for sure. It is like an allergy issue...tell me up front when you make the reservation or at very least when you walk in the door so we can plan it, not when you have already eaten the first course or two and then speak up and say "by the way...I am allergic to nuts", oh yea ass hole...and you just ingested two different types and now better stick yourself with the epi-pen on the way to Swedish! I realize that veganism is much different, but respect is the crucial detail. Maybe that is why so many chefs freak on the deal. At any rate, we enjoy it...we embrace it...we do pretty damn well at it. Here is the last menu from the chef's table we cooked for some special folks, two of which being non-vegans. They loved it!
heart of palm-carrot "ravioli"
chayote squash-shiso roll, citrus, macadamia "rappe", red ribbon sorrel
bergamot oil and a yuzu kosho dressing
roasted beet salad
truffled apricot marmalade, pear-pistachio "lollipops". chervil, beet oil
"tasting of local asparagus"
chilled "vicyssoise", potato water, trampetti olive oil
warm salad, radishes, shaved hazelnuts, shiitake chips and mostarda
hot risotto, roasted portobellos, smoked olive oil drizzle
"hot potato noodles"
tunisian cous cous, peas, fava beans, truffled silky tofu nage
lemon balm compressed cucumbers, cucumber-mint sorbet
grilled zucchini wrapped firm tofu
eggplant agro dolce, morels, white bean-garlic scape stew, mosto cotto
glazed artichokes "sous vide" and walnut oil
sauteed lacinato kale & corn composure
braised baby leeks, potato "vapeur", grilled oyster mushrooms, balsamic
and crispy salsify root
chocolate sponge, hazelnuts, macerated cherries, chocolate sorbet
rhubarb-pecan crisp, rhubarb sorbet, olive oil
local strawberry-mango "napoleon", basil, feuille de brik
rosemary-almond brittle, aprium jellies, avocado-chocolate frozen lollipops