Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trefethen Wine Dinner

We are offering a wine dinner featuring Trefethen Wines on Wednesday March 18. The menu i posted below and should be a blast. We have pulled a few items from the Truffle Fest menu so those of you who can't make it to Asheville the weekend before won't feel left out.


Trefethen Wine Dinner

March 18, 2009

Reception, 6 – 7 pm, First Course, 7 pm

All wines from the Trefethen family vineyards

in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

Trefethen’s Southeast Regional Manager, John Harrington,

will be here to present the wines


Gougeres with chived goat cheese

2007 Dry Riesling

First course

Smoked Salmon with sherry dressed shaved asparagus

2006 Chardonnay

Second Course

Merlot risotto with pancetta, grana padano and micro basil

2005 Merlot


Pheasant en Crépinette, Pheasant Sausage, Chestnut Jus

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon


Ile Flottante

Floating Island, Raspberry Mousse,

Caramelized White Chocolate Custard and Almond Tuile

2007 Late Harvest Riesling

Sunday, February 22, 2009

National Truffle Fest Part 2

The First Annual North American Truffle Festival is coming up in a few short weeks. Tickets are still available. I wanted to post the menu for our wine dinner we will be cooking the first Thursday of the event. Each chef is cooking 4-5 course to be paired with wine and each meal is for roughly 12 people, so tickets for this event are going fast. Here is what we have decided to cook. Remember this is a truffle driven event so get ready to eat some truffle.

Amuse Bouche

Tuna Crudo, Litchi-Green Tea Gelee, Telicherry Pepper

First Course

Chicken and Foraged Mushroom Consommé Royal, and Shaved Truffle

Second Course

Diver Scallops, Risotto, Shaved Truffle, Sorrel and Verjus

Third Course

Pheasant en Crépinette, Pheasant Sausage, and Chestnut Jus

Fourth Course

Ile Flottante

Floating Island, Raspberry Mousse, Caramelized White Chocolate Custard and Almond Tuile

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eating Local and The Economy

Today President Obama signed into law a bill to help save the American economy. An insanely large some of money that I can barely fathom. This combined with my sous chef's ranting phone call about local economy and restaurants spurned me to post this particular blog. Well, right now we here a lot of gloom and doom coming from the restaurant gossip circles. And not just around here in NC but all over the country. Friends in NY and New Orleans talk about it being particularly bleak.

2 poor semesters of college economics does little for my validity,and I am hardly political, but here are my thoughts. EAT AT YOUR LOCAL RESTAURANTS! At our restaurant we purchase roughly 80% of our food locally. Our owners actually live 3 blocks away from our front doors. All of our employees live and feed the economy in our area. But it goes so much further than that. When a guest enters our restaurant you help us as well as our waitstaff to make a living. In turn we purchase food from local purveyors which helps their employees and so on.

Let's take for instance dining at your neighborhood chain restaurant, i.e. Applebees, Chili's, TGIF, Macarooni grill, Outback, Carrabas, Bonefish etc. When your enter these Establishments yes you help the economy of the employees who work at each individual unit. That is more or less $.30 of every dollar you spend staying local. Next, the food purchased by these chains comes from varying sources such as California, China, Mexico, Peru. That is another $.30 on the dollar not going to local economy. Then the profits from these chain restaurants is shipped to Wallstreet where CEOs get it.

Money Spent in our restaurant stays local. If you have a problem with a meal you can call/ email the owner. They live right here. They are your neighbors. Also, if you don't find favor with the food that I create you can come knock on my door. So eat at your local restaurants.

I was in a restuarant profitablity workshop and talking with the restaurant expert I came to find out that most chain restaurants are actually more expensive than the local eateries. Yes they advertise meals for $5.99 (to start). But the majority actually charge more and usually offer far inferior products. Support your local dining scene and I bet the economy will benifit greatly.

My wife and I this past Sunday went to celebrate the final days of the restaurant where we met. Shucker's Oyster bar had been in business for 24 years and has finally closed it's doors at the original location. It was a happy sad time. Good friends and drinks. It is also the kitchen where I got my start. Here is what that kitchen looked like after a beating and 24 years of service.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I got an education in truffles. It was like a back alley drug deal. 10:30 at night our local truffle farmer and the USA truffle man, who also started this years first annual truffle fest, came by with an obscene amount of truffles picked that very same day out in Yadkin Valley near my home town of Winston-Salem. Franklin Garland was super kind to come by so late with his truffles and actually let me pick the best of the bunch. I got to sniff and touch and hold more truffles than most chefs will ever get a chance to handle. We had to scrub the dirt off to get an accurate weight measurement. You don't want to pay for the dirt when truffles run $800 a pound. I was completely awe struck. Of course Franklin is telling me about roasted a whole truffle with a little cognac and eating it like a baked potato! Seriously, that is sick. I picked two truffles which came out to exactly a 1/2 pound. But Franklin gave me a lot of information about truffles and the different less expensive varieties. It was a good time.

Valentines Day Shots

Here we have the start of our chocolate dipped hazelnuts with fleur de sel. This was our amuse bouche for valentines day. On this tray alone there were roughly 400 hazelnuts. We poured hard ganache over the four different times and then topped them with fleur de sel.

This is our almond brittle thuile being molded on our back line. We used it for the Banana Split for Two shown below. My sous John and I write a lot menus over many beers and we play the what if. Example, what if we did a banana split for valentines day. Yeah, maybe we could make a huge sweeping thuile to come off the plate. Sounds great. Well the next part is actually making the thuile. I am no pastry chef, but with a little trial and error and one quick run to Ace hardware we actually pulled this one off. These are the types of experiments for me that really get me excited. Especially when they work. It is actally pretty scary how many of our ideas come through versus how many fail.

Thanks to all who came for Valntines day. I am pretty sure the banana split is going on to our regular menu.