On August 18th, 2013 the DineAmic team packed their mixing bowls and hopped a plane to prepare a dinner at the James Beard House. With a set theme of “Modern Mediterranean” cuisine it was definitely a food-venture to remember…and we plan on giving you the scoop of all scoops. Our social gal and photographer, Lindsey, got to experience first-hand what it means to have your cilantro and eat it too.
Last week I packed my bags for a 3 day excursion into the foodie jungle, the cosmic apple, the city that never sleeps (this is confirmed). A city where even street tacos are romantic. New York. Although I have been many times before I have come to realize one thing…
I have never seen the same skyline twice.
On this trip in particular, the buildings didn’t look like buildings at all. They morphed somehow. Before me I saw giant stacks of tightly-wound housemade linguini adorned in micro chives. Skyscrapers crafted thoughtfully with crispy speck, jaggedly casting shadows across the water. A bridge made of the freshest burrata held in place by tiny army’s of chopped parmesan. Boats made of butter cake and candied hazelnuts. Clouds of stracchino cheese with a midday forecast of tomato gazpacho, it was all just as it should of been. A culinary dreamland that if not otherwise inhibited by my diet, would be the blueprint to my own house. “Good morning, darling!” *Raises blinds made of summer truffle and red finger chilies*
A girl can dream, right?
Okay, so maybe I was a little hungry after being detained on an airplane with only peanuts and bar crackers for two hours. Nonetheless, I arrived in New York with two things on my mind. Coffee (object a) and work (object b). For anyone that knows me well, I only perform optimally at object b when object a is in full force. One latte later and off to the James Beard House I went!
Arrival: 167 West 12th Street, New York
A quaint building with instant character. I immediately thought of all the people that must be busting at the seams to walk through this door. The masters of culinary. People that pronounce thyme correctly. People that without question have worked their butts off to be invited. Go team! I made my way to the kitchen and spotted Chef David and Chef Jeremy wrestling with Jersey corn and pecorino. Chef Fabio in the flour trenches making fresh linguini. A real power team.
The menu for the evening was as follows:
- Hors d’Oeuvre
- Coccoli with Prosciutto di Parma
- Anchovy Cichetti
- Wagyu Beef Tartare
- Tomato Gazpacho
- Hamachi Crudo
- Tomato Brûlée with Burrata and Crispy Speck
- Squid Ink Linguini with Grilled Lobster
- Balsamic-Glazed Rack of Lamb
- Warm Chocolate Butter Cake and Hazelnut Gelato
After countless hours of prep, it was time to begin. Our team had 7 minutes to plate each course for 82 (quite hungry!) house guests. To be honest, it was unlike anything I have ever seen. Each dollop of spicy balsamic reduction done with the utmost grace. Every shallot dropped thoughtfully. You know, at first glance an evening at The James Beard House might appear to be just a blur of smart hands and quick feet with the ability to palette please. When you look closer, it’s about passion. The most desirable marinade of all. Everyone I encountered that evening possessed such an ever-present adoration for food in that warm-fuzzy have another glass of Selvapiana type of way…and don’t forget the cheese.
This foundation is really doing something right.
When I introduced myself to Chef David Blonsky he said, “Just call me David, I’m here to cook good food… it’s not like I’m curing cancer!” and thats when I knew it was going to be an amazing event. Both David and Fabio are so passionate about food, feeding their guests and ensuring that everyone is have a great experience. For me, Modern Mediterranean by Fabio and David was the epitome of a James Beard Foundation event. They put together an amazing menu and their dishes spotlighted quality ingredients that made all of the guests truly excited to eat. After working with the chefs all morning, it was really interesting for me to see them work with the film crew. Their personalities stayed the same on and off camera, lots of laughter and professionalism. -Justine, Little Miss Local
Moving on, I will say that my camera has definitely racked up some hours in between tiramisu prep and housemade bomboloni. More often times than not my shoes are sprinkled with flour and I love that. With each shot I gain more and more respect for what goes on behind the scenes. Every time I work with Chef David, Chef Fabio, or Chef Jeremy they make what they do seem effortless. I walk away thinking that I, too, can make a flawless gazpacho. That’s what it’s all about, right? Sharing the love of what you do with other people. Genuinely being able to translate that feeling of excitement without words, but maybe through a bite of coccoli instead. If I had a box full of lemons for every moment I wanted to jump up and down or smack one of the chefs on the back during those seven minute prep intervals let it be known that I’d have my own fruit stand.
James Beard himself one said, “The secret of good cooking, is, first, having a a love of it. …If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.”
You’ll find no drudgery in these parts. I walked away smelling like a cookbook on the best sellers list.
Forever impressed and grateful to work with such creative minds.
Until next time New York,