The James Beard House-An Incredible Culinary Adventure
The James Beard house recognizes outstanding chefs for their achievements in the culinary world and invites them to NY to host an upscale dining evening unlike any other.
As we walked through the open kitchen, where the chef and his crew were neck deep in their creations, a sense of excitement and celebration set in. The tree lined outdoor patio welcomed us, on the mild and sunny evening, with a glass of Grand Cru champagne as the passed hors d'oeuvres made their rounds. A crisp pearl onion housed a shredded, sweet, tender oxtail. The delicate foie gras was topped with an apple gelee and sat atop a baked crust (cleverly tagged Foie Gras Apple Pie). The oysters, brought in fresh from Washington State, slid into our mouths with grace, as the tiny morsels of salty caviar exploded with a gentle pop.
Once all the guests had a short introduction to the evening's forthcoming bounty, we were called to take our seats in the dining room. The beautifully set tables were dimly lit with enough silverware and glasses to run 5 restaurants. The women of each table were served first (a sign of tradition and extra bonus for me), as the first course emerged: ceviched scallop and geoduck. Although the geoduck was rested atop the scallop, it was difficult to differentiate the flavor of the two. The scallop, extremely fresh, with almost a pudding consistency, overpowered any chance the geoduck may have had. The shellfish was accompanied by a savory tarragon sauce, served with a light riesling; a perfect partner for the start of the meal.
As the wine flowed, the dining room roared with laughter and exuded a vibe of ultimate indulgence and relaxation. After discussing each bite, we eagerly awaited the next course: Pacific king salmon.
The consistent pouring of the night, the abundance of flavors, and the shear indulgence left us giddy. As the chef and his team made their appearance, grand applause filled the room. Daniel Humm (executive chef at Eleven Madison Park and Chef Franey's mentor), had an extremely proud smile from ear to ear, as he embraced Chef Franey and congratulated him on this achievement. A heavenly culinary evening with great company and flavorful twists and turns in every bite!