Friday, November 19, 2010

Chefs' Table

Monday is a night off for most chefs in the business.  Sundays and Mondays.  This past Monday we had a special sort of dinner party.  About 2 months ago Chef had the idea to invite a group of chefs from the region for dinner in the garden. Chef is one of those types of people when he gets an idea in his head he immediately sets to action.  It is a sort of compulsion, which I believe serves people in his trade well.  

The Chefs

Chef Adam Sears of Merge
Chef Sam Efron from Taverna
Chef Tom Gray of Bistro Aix
Chef Jonathan Insetta Orsay and Chew
Chef Thomas Tolxdorf of the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island
Chef Brian Siebenschuh of Orsay
Chef Karey Raulerson Sottile, executive Sous Chef Orsay
Chef Scott Schwartz of 29 South

Then he got to talking with Tapha Sears, wife of Chef Adam Sears and wine rep for Premiere.  They decided to sponsor the event...which made for amazing juice served.  So there were some wine folks there, and wherever there are wine folks there are usually smiles.

I began work with Shannon our garden virtuoso in order to make sure things were looking spruced.  As Chef talked more about the dinner, the more I wanted to attend.  Then it came to light that many of the wives were coming because many of them were partners in business with their husbands, as well as in life.  Bravo. The Farm/Garden Coordinator was in. 

The Menu

Clam Belly Roll with Meyer Lemon Tartar Sauce
Conner's Farm Mixed Greens with Fried Pig Ears
Heritage Pork Chianti Truffle Sausage with Kale and Homemade Ricotta
Braised Piedmontese Beef Shank on Chestnut Lasagna
Roasted Pears and Figs with Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese, Sweet Wine, and Naked Bee Honey

The meal was provincial and delicious.  We ate family style, passing heaping plates around the table.  We talked shop, and I got to finally meet the mysterious man my husband calls every night.  At 8:45 pm an alarm goes off on Chef's phone, no matter where we are or what we are doing.  He picks up his phone, calls 29 South gets an order then immediately calls a man named Jeremy.  Jeremy is the rep for Inland Seafood.  If Jeremy answers the phone Chef is happy, if he doesn't lets just say Chef is... disgruntled.  I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jeremy during dinner, and it was nice to finally put a face on a phone call.  This is him on the left, and throughout the evening he was receiving calls from all over the region from other chefs placing their nightly orders.

At the end of the meal we all agreed this is something we need to do regularly.  Northeast Florida is not exactly the epicenter of the culinary arts in this country, but I venture to say we are a diamond in the rough thanks to these people, and it was a pleasure getting to know the folks behind the food.

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