Friday, December 26, 2008

James Beard House Dinner Menu

We have the final menu ready to go..... The dinner will be Saturday April 4th, 2009 at the James Beard House in New York City. The cost of the dinner is $150 for JBF members (become a member) & $200 for NON-members. We truly hope that we will be able to have a great turnout from all our friends and followers from the Boston area. Here is the menu for this wonderful evening!!!

James Beard House Dinner


We are proud and honored to present to the James Beard House an evening of fine contemporary cuisine inspired by the worlds finest offerings and focusing on the use of some of New Englands premium sustainable agriculture.

Passed Hors‘dourves
2007 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Soy Cured Organic Scottish Salmon/ Chive & Green Apple Slaw/Crème Fraiche
Sorrel Wrapped Vermont Ash Ripened Goat Cheese/ Red Beet “Caviar”

Foie Gras French Toast / Charred Green Onion/ Champagne & Bacon Vinaigrette
Cream Of Asparagus Soup/ Black Flying Fish Roe

Dinner Menu

Pan Seared Nantucket Bay Scallops
black truffles/meyer lemon “ceviche” dressing
2003 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Guinea Hen Loin
spring peas/lavender/chive blossoms
2005 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

House Smoked Hudson Valley Duck Ham
great hill blue cheese foam/merlot glaze/rye toast
2006 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot

Braised All Natural Veal Cheeks
artisan Vermont chevre polenta / king oyster mushroom/ natural jus
1998 Duckhorn Vineyards Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

“Chocolate & Blackberries”
2006 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine

Executive Chef Richard Garcia
Chef De Cuisine Matt Maue
Frank Barbagallo of Duckhorn Wine Company

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Meal I Will Remember Forever

As most of you that follow the blog know I was recently back in Spain for a few days last week. During my visit I had the pleasure of visiting a very unique winery, the winery of R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia has a history of making wines for over 131 years.These are tru artisan winemakers and to learn more about these wines and the vineyard (or as known in Spain "BODEGAS")click on the link and get ready to transport yourself to one of the most beautiful places on earth.
As beautiful as this vineyard tour was, it was the stop for lunch that will be embedded in my brain for the remainder of my lifetime.
About 30 minutes up the mountain side from Logrono, we stopped at a village that seemed near deserted. The small village of Brinas was were we decided to stop, and the restaurant we were looking for had no signs, no advertisements or directions to get you there, just a small menu that was pinned on a wooden slab right outside the entry way. As we entered I noticed that this place did not discriminate against social status, color, or language. A group of truck drivers sat as we walked in to our left, next to them a small group of french tourists and behind the french men a wealthy group of businessmen. All enjoying the same traditional cuisine enjoyed for 50 years at this restaurant.
As we were seated the first thing that was literally thrown on the table was a whole house cured chorizo link, a dull butter knife to cut it with and a few loafs of french bread bought from the baker down the street. Endless bottles of Rioja wine followed by a description of the "menu del dia" or menu of the day.(A 4 course pre fixe with wine included for 9 euros a person....9 euros?!?) To start your choice of chorizo and potato stew, white beans and pigs trotters or red beans and rice. We all ordered one of each and decided to share all the dishes family style. The next course consisted of braised beef tongue, oxtail and veal cheeks. All prepared in pretty much the same manner, braised in a traditional mixture of onions, peppers, tomatoes and paprika. The intermezzo...get this, a jar of pickled peppers, passed around the table and shared by all! After the peppers we had plancha seared sepia(cuttlefish), baby squid cooked in its own ink and bacalao(salt cod) braised in tomato and olives.....amazing, every last bite was just amazing, I don't know how else to describe it. Now for dessert, a 1 inch thick slice of pineapple with a fork and knife(sharper than the chorizo knife) sticking out of the core, vanilla ice cream, house made by hand cranking machine or canned peaches. They were out of flan and rice pudding, apparently you have to get there before noon time to even have a chance at one of those two desserts. Simple & rustic, traditional and classic, you could feel the love that the chef put in every dish. In fact at the end of our meal the chef came out to say hello to us, although two tables of tourists were there, the chef said it was rare that outsiders ventured into this little village often, and when they do she always comes out to say hello. Now the chef....she was 80 years old, has owned the restaurant for 50 years and has cooked every day it has been opened except for when she gave birth to her kids. Her children run the restaurant and the bar across the street, along with the husbands, cousins and nieces and nephews, a true family business that was not in it for the money, not in it for the fame, in it because they love taking care of people. they love sharing the tradition of authentic Spanish cuisine with every person that eats at this nameless location. I asked her what her secret was, I quote word for word " Mijo, only, and I will reiterate ONLY use the very best ingredients you can get your hands on, only use food that is in season and put every ounce of love that you have into your food." If I close my eyes I can hear her sweet voice telling me the secret to her success.......

(LtoR)My little brother Alex/ Mr. Rodriquez-Former Sommelier at Mugaritz in San Sebastion Spain(gave us our tour of the winery)/yours truley and my cousin Juan Manuel who is the chef and owner of Juan & Juan and Ceasar & Ceasar both restaurants located in Logrono Spain.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Invitation Of A Lifetime

As good as it gets....if your a chef! The invitation has arrived! An opportunity to cook at the James Beard House in NYC is now a reality. On Saturday April 4th 2009, I will be packing up my coolers with New England produce, proteins & seafood, my knives will find their way back into my knife roll, and I will be taking my chef de cuisine with me to cook at what many call the "Carnegie Hall" for chefs. A performance space to showcase a chefs abilities and his/her cuisine.

The James Beard House is named for the late James Beard, a cooking teacher, journalist and food consultant considered by many as the "father of American gastronomy." The James Beard Foundation has as its mission to celebrate, preserve and nurture American culinary heritage and diversity and to elevate the appreciation of culinary excellence.

We are very pleased to have a excellent partner for this dinner, Duckhorn Wine Company will be with us every step of the way. A great treat will be getting to experience wines from several of the companies wineries, including dual vintages of their Sauvignon Blanc & Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon.

I am humbled by the opportunity to cook and to just stand in the kitchen at the Beard House.I look forward to feeling the presence of all those who have cooked in that same kitchen before me.

Our menu is currently in the works, and as soon as we finalize it I will make sure to post it here first.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekly Thoughts From The Test Kitchen Debuts!

Chef Jeff Tenner debuted his blog today, "Weekly Thoughts From The Test Kitchen" will discuss how the role of the chef has evolved over the past two decades.Chef Tenners point of view is sure to raise some great points, interesting questions and fun and innovative ideas.
I had the pleasure of working under Chef Tenner twice in my career, and continue to look to him for guidance and instruction. He is by far one of the most intellectual chefs I have had the pleasure of working under. I look forward to reading his blog!