Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Textures

I don't claim to be a pastry chef, but every once in a while Ill put a dessert up against a pastry chefs any day....this is one of those. Iwas planning a summer menu and needed a killer dessert to bring with me to Nantucket. When I took this to the St. Emilion dinner it was a huge hit! I had already developed a goat cheese recipe but this just trumped that dish so I decided to start summer a little early put it on the menu.
 Strawberries compressed and macerated with St. Germain Elderflower Liquor. A creme fraiche mousse set with just the right amount of gelatin to have the silky mouth feel of a spoonful of sweetened creme fraiche. Strawberry fluid gel set with agar-agar ,  freeze dried strawberries and short bread pieces. To finish off the dish a small amount of sweetened white balsamic foam.
The different strawberry components give you the sweetness & tartness in different textures and the creaminess of the creme fraiche and buttery short bread add depth and a savory element needed to balance. The white balsamic foam brings the dish together and allows all the components to work together, its the string that holds everything together.
I'm excited to start using some of the local strawberries grown around here especially those from Wards Berry Farm in Sharon, MA.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nantucket Wine Festival 2011

What an amazing time at this years festival! From Thursday nights Harbor Gala where we served 800 portions of our Hot Jellied Lamb Tongue Terrine, to Friday nights exclusive dinner we cooked in one of the Islands most beautiful homes ($600 a head!) for 15 awesome people and two of Bordeaux's finest wine producers. I wont  forget the Gala after parties , dinner at The Pearl, the Grand Tasting , running into great friends and chefs and top it off with a great time with my wife and Chef Maue who came to the island to help me cook.
Denis Toner, the NWF founder and his team of volunteers who make the official opening of Nantucket happen every year for the past 15 years were amazing to work with.

Our culinary assistants from the Nantucket Yacht Club were awesome and the entire experience was truly one of the best off site events I have had the privilege to be part of.

Here are some pictures from the weekend, yes there was also pink shirts and pink drinks involved...pit stops for great wine, expensive bloody marys and random stops for Jager shots along the way, so don't blame me for the bad shots!

When in Nantucket you must wear pink at least once

Bentons Country Ham Croquettes, Cider Aioli, Honey Bourbon

Blackburns Fluke Crudo "Push Pop"

Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Heirloom Rhubarb , Flaming Shiso

72 Hour American Wagyu, Foie Stuffed Morels, Fried Fava, Fava Puree

American Lamb Tartar, 64 Degree Quail Egg, Black Truffle, Comte Cheese, Brioche

Prep Time Saint Emilion Dinner

Prep Saint Emilion Dinner

Table Setting Great Wines In Grand Houses Saint Emilion Dinner

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Toast to The Crew at Renaissance Boston & 606 Congress

For a chef,  waiting for a review (here in Boston especially the Boston Globe)  to come out is torture, even if you have all the confidence in the world in your crew there is still that part of you that hopes everything was spot on, did the cooks season everything perfectly? Was there too much garnish? Did the server remember to describe all the components correctly? Were we just that little bit off on the night the reviewers were in that could have made it go south quickly? Wine Pairings correct?

But today we were very fortunate to have a great review written by Devra First of the Boston Globe. A humble 2 stars and proud of them! Sure there were some things we missed the mark on.... some of the food wasn't perfect, wine list and decor were targets but overall....I am very proud of the review and most of all of my crew who made it happen! The good outweighed the criticism by a mile.

Its great when your hard work is rewarded with some kind words and encouragement to continue doing your thing, being creative and inventive and pushing the limits for your clientele.

But this is about my crew, the team that dedicates their time to ensuring that people get what we are trying to do ..... both front of the house & back of the house ....Thank you and a toast to you!