Here we are in October. It has been a very good year. As we begin to wind down, we start looking to relax and have fun with new menus, event design and ways we can bring the experience for our guests to an even higher level.
Recently, through the powers of social media, I had been introduced to a very talented young woman - Victoria James. Victoria is a Sommelier and the wine director at Piora in New York City. I have admired the various articles she has contributed to and the passion she spoke with about her chosen career. One night over punching of keys we came up with a plan to put together a dinner that showcased the art of our fire cooking paired with the magic of France - wines to be specific. Victoria, talked to Kermit Lynch about importing the specific wines and they happily jumped on board - So now you know its game on!
The dinner will take place at the stunning Crested Hen Farms. The property lies on 32 acres and is home to a wonderfully restored barn from the late 1700’s - Perfectly fitting in with the vibe of our old world evening.
If you ask any of my friends they’ll tell you that sometimes (most times) I don’t shut up once I get going on something. If you hang around a bit longer, the conversation inevitably comes back to food and the mechanics of it. The thing is, I am always searching for ways to deliver an even more immersive experience whether it be through the perfect recipe, the scent of something specific in the air, or the mesmerizing sight of a fire stoked perfectly just at the right moment. I spend late nights sketching and dreaming, trading hours of sleep for potential ideas that may or may not work out. There certainly is a level of insanity, which is common among passionate people, especially chefs.
The fun thing about these people is that they often have some of the most amazing stories, when you can get them to break from whatever they are on about. The “crazy” people are the ones who don’t take no for an answer, the ones who fall flat on their faces time and time again and just keep getting up - all the while learning. We are fortunate to have 2 such people flying in from half way across the world for this very night - Christine Campadieu and Serge Férigoule both winemakers from the South of France. They have learned much during quest to produce their specific wines and they have much to share.
If you are one of our guest coming from the great city of New York, your evening begins at Piora Restaurant where you will catch a ride on a retro school bus. This bus, my friends, will transport you on a beautiful scenic ride to the country for the night. The bus will also bring you back that night - a proper escape from New York.
For the rest of the folks, we will be eagerly awaiting your arrival among your own means.
As you all arrive to this picturesque upstate painting, you will be greeted with passed bites and a glass of NV La Tour Vieille Memoire d'Automnes to awaken your palate. I am also so excited to team up with Magdalena Events again and see what she has in store for design with her impeccable eye. We both share the same style of entertaining and we really believe that it's all about the details and hospitality and most of all one of a kind experience. While I focus on the menu I can trust she will take care of all the little things and logistics we don’t really see. Magdalena always makes sure that everyone feels comfortable and has a great time. Besides, she gets my jokes.
We will also be looking at the coastal regions of France as we prepare a lighter first course that will consist of Fruits Der Mer, or fruits of the ocean. Various ocean foods will be carefully prepared and smoked over hardwood fire and flame. The plate will be garnished with some of the last of the season dressed vegetables and Sauce Vert. To accompany this course will be a pouring of 2013 Le Sang des Cailloux, Vacqueyras Blanc.
The second course I’m very excited about. When you have the opportunity to work with farmers who do an absolutely amazing job at caring for the land and the product, you can’t help but want to work with them. Climbing Tree Farm is located in upstate New York and raise Tamworth Pigs or as the english call them -Ginger Pigs. A sight to see, these red headed pigs are a heritage breed pig that are freeze to pasture on acres of green grass as well as woodland forage. The pigs diet it supplemented with left over milk and ice cream from High Lawn Farm in Lee, Ma, helping lend the pigs flesh a light, creamy texture. I have lined up one of these beautiful animals for our dinner. Hudson Valley in October equals apples and they have never tasted so good. We will crush and press fresh cider to braise the pork belly in. We will also pair this with various elements of Sunflower and Apple.
The Third Course is something truly to behold. In preparation for this dinner I had the opportunity to obtain a rib of a beautiful steer raised in Hoosick Falls, NY from Berle Farm. Here is another case of a passionate, unique farmer. The last time I was at the farm this past July to pick up the beef, Beatrice Berle informed me she couldn’t speak long because she was in the middle of milking. 45 minutes later we were deep in conversation and breaking into one of the first wheels of their newest cheeses - The Haymaker. Amazing culinary experience, truly.
Sorry, back to the beef.
This rib of beef has been aging since July and in the end 112 days. Why, why would I do this you ask? For those of you who haven’t studied dry aged meats, in a nutshell by slowing the decomposition of proteins, we begin to break down the collagen that connects the protein fibers, giving you an end result of incredible flavor and melt in your mouth texture. Dry aging meat in an art and is something really very special and I look forward to sharing it with you. In contrast, as with the 2 wines that will be poured showing the differences in 1 year, we will work in a similar fashion by roasting a 21 day aged beef rib next to the 112 day rib. We will hang the beeves above our fires and allow them to very slowly roast from the gradual rising heat all day. To accompany these elegant roasts we look to the earth that the steers spend their lives noshing on. Livestock are great for fertilizing the earth, however, so are cover crops. As we always focus on replenishing the earth, here we celebrate the grains and legumes that help support that cause. We will use a selection of cover crops that fix and give nitrogen back to the soil in a nod, albeit subtle, to the classic French dish, Cassoulet. Serge Will pour 2 different vintages of his wine; 2013 Le Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras Rouge and 2012 Le Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras Rouge.
Lastly, I was very inspired to learn more about the wine for the last course, NV La Tour Vieille Banyuls Reserva. “made from vines growing on the steep slopes that plunge into the Mediterranean between Collioure & Cerbere to the Spanish frontier” “a classic accompaniment for desserts of dark chocolate, but also perfect with blue cheeses”. Chocolate and Blue Cheese. Both great on their own, but, what if we marry them together? You will have to see. I will not spoil it, but something slow roasted and that screams autumn in New York.
This is a dinner that I have been looking forward to for some time now. Fantastic food and drink are absolutely essential to a memorable gathering. When you have a collection - a team - of people so passionate about what they are doing and then how they translate that passion into an event, you know that it will be an event that you won’t want to miss. Click here to get your ticket.