Another great year at Star Chefs has passed. I look forward to it every year. I missed 2006 and 2008 but I now make it a point to attend no matter what. It is invaluable the amount of knowledge that is free flowing from the presenters and attendees. i was fortunate enough to meet Linda from Playing with Fire and Water, great blog, personality, photography, and an inspiriation to hang with her for a short time. Kurtis, Chad, Alberto and Jeremiah from Miami are always great to hang with. Pablo from NYC. Sweet bahn mi tacos from Gastropod. Kevin, Mac and new exec chef of Olives NY Tony Susi were a pleasure and very hospitable considering I mailed a bunch of mise en place and equipment to their restaurant for my competition. KOSTA, the mad greek and his chef Pete were as awesome as ever. Can't forget the first the people I saw in the Armory, Aki and Maya greeting me with big smiles then Alex coming along after checking in. It's always a pleasure to see them, you can't help but feed off their energy. Kevin, Amy, and Winbird. Doc Sconz shooting pictures like a mad man between the workshops and the list goes on for days. Brian Baxter, one of my employees, joined me this year. Being his first star chef experience I'm sure he took a lot away from it. Meeting tons of people, networking, talking food, and free flowing Stella doesn't ever hurt. I'm interested to see what he comes up with over the next couple of weeks through his experience at the congress. I knew it was going to be an interesting year when I got off the plane, got in the cab line at Laguardia, turned around and was next to Ron Jeremy. From there it was on, what a crazy 4 days.
My first day started with a workshop hosted by Brad Fermerie of Public and Double Crown. "There Will Be Blood" was the topic of his workshop, and there was plenty of it. Venison blood to be exact. He went over the basics of working with lifes essential liquid, then we all pitched in and put together some boudin noir. Simple and delicious, all about technique, personal interpretation, and execution. Here is the boudin noir that we made, then we tasted some of chef's blood creations. Outstanding to say the least.
After the show we hauled ass to one of the best meals I've ever had. Corton is amazing because of Paul Leibrandt and his staff. Kosta had staged with Chef Leibrandt when he did a dinner at McCrady's hosted by Sean Brock so our meal turned from 3 courses into something extra. Even the three course pre fixe at corton is essentially a 10 course menu. 2 amuse, one was a pea sponge with a pea cornbread of sorts, then whipped foie gras with cucumber gelee. Baxter ordered the foie as his first course so he recieved and entirely different amuse which was very thoughtful. I ordered "from the garden" which had so many components, textures, flavors, and varying temperatures that every bite was something different. Truly awesome. Kosta had the tomato course which consisted of 3 different platings of tomato, each to be enjoyed on their own, separate from the main plating. Baxter's foie was served with fresh brioche, homemade butter and too many other components that I am drawing a blank. This continued for several hours. Baxter and I shared the "mangalitsa pork for two", being a proponent of this rare breed I had to have Leibrandt's version. Needless to say it was awesome, served with a black meringue that when the smoked pork jus was poured around melted into the sauce, f'ing awesome. Koasta's Elysian Fields lamb tasting was ridiculous as well, smoked neck, sweetbreads, loin, tartare! This was a great experience. I knew I was in the right place when the sous chef of Public walked in and gave me "the nod" as we were finishing to have dinner with some friends of his own.
Off to Eataly for lunch. This place is insane, 45 minute wait for pizza and pasta seating at 2:00pm on a Tuesday. There was so much to see, you just have to experience it. A little bit of a cluster F' when it coms to service, I \'m sure that has something to do with the 2,000 people all trying to eat a the same time but overall a great experience. The fish counter was full of fresh fish at decent prices.
The charcuterie was amazing. There is only about $10,000 of proscuitto di parma hanging from the ceiling and another $10,000 worth of parmesan wheels acting as a wall to the left of the meat counter. I got 1/2lb of speck and pete got 1/4lb of sweet sopresatta. Amazing on all counts.
Kind of a shame this awesome Berkel slicer is just for show.
On to some more of the ridiculous.Pastry Chef Dominique Persoone and Food Scientist Bernard Lahousse of Food Pairings released a new chocolate pairings site. After their vibrant demo we ended up snorting chocolate, yes snorting it. This has not yet been released to head super models(which baxter pointed out) but I'm sure is on it's way and will be well recieved but probably not for the intended use. They developed an acrylic piece that they place infused cocoa on, then basicaly shoot it up into your nasil cavity while you inhale. The ginger infused cocoa powder went straight to my brain, then you get the drip sensation in the back of your throat that really brings the flavors up over your tongue. After hearing some of their outrageous demo ideas that were denied by star chefs I can see how this mild version was the safest bet to go with. Really great chefs and entertaining as well. Here is there creation to shoot cocoa. Put the powder on the end of the two prongs, they count to three and flick the switch which shoots the powder into the air under your nose and you inhale. sure they could make a pretty penny selling this to head shops.
Alberto giving it a shot.
Not last and certainly not least, jordan Kahn gave the best presentation of the congress. An awesome interpretation of art comprising of film, music and brush strokes that put everyone on edge. The guy walked on to the stage, didn't say a word, played a video and plated some desserts. Doesn't sound like much but words cannot explain the depth of this yong pastry chef with experience at Per Se and Alinea. I wish he would have walked off stage and not said a word when the video finished. It would have been the shit, and I know that he would have done it if Antoinette hadn't forced him into taking questions. This guy knows he nailed this demo and is a badass in the eyes of everyone that watched it but he seems shy and humble. Appreciative of where he came from and not what you expect. Watch out for this guy. Here is a picture of the hoards of people trying to get an up close glimpse of his desserts.
Wild Blueberries at Black Queen Angus Farm
5 years ago