Notes From The Chef

The last dinner of the year was designed to be the crowning glory for a very special 2015. The Wow factor dictated the choice of dishes as food is a great way to celebrate any holiday, especially the end to a wonderful year. In October, I donated seats at 10 ChairsNYC to raise money for Ballet Academy East. As a former ballet dancer, I believe very strongly in supporting the dance and arts community. The auction winners, parents of young dancers who are committed to encouraging the arts joined us, also brought like-minded friends who encourage various arts.

With our international fame growing, this time Holland was represented by a young writer from Amsterdam whose wife found 10 ChairsNYC on line. Unfortunately his wife was unable to attend because she was traveling, but I look forward to meeting her in the new year.

The dinner reveled in the season.

Smoked fish is a great way to begin a festive meal. I house smoked the fish and created a pate with various herbs with a gently laid salad of meyer lemons, za’atar, and cucumbers on top, creating a scrumptious counterpoint.

As the base for chowder I used Kobocha squash in lieu of potatoes. The bisque-like base was enhanced with a white wine blend from Gonin whose color and flavor excited the palate and caught guests wondering: "what is that rich flavor of this chowder?" Artisanal grits slowly stirred with shallots cooked in butter until decadent and creamy. This was artistically topped with a combination of mushrooms; chanterelles, shiitakes and black trumpets sautéed and finished with white wine, baby arugula. It paired so naturally with a soft Zweigelt from Austria.

The crowning dish, Osso Buco: veal shanks braised with aromatics, red wine and herbs. The perfect thing to serve with this was a saffron risotto with Acquerella Arborio rice, pearl onions and butter soaked carrots. The Montefalco Rosso wine added the perfect counterpoint for this rich decadent dish.

Dessert was challenging, since it needed to be light but rich. What else but a pudding with brown sugar and maple syrup instead of scotch, cognac with a caramel that I touched with a little Hawaiian pink salt. Nothing suits pudding like a sparkling wine and the Puianello Amabile Lambrusco was just the wine.

As everyone was exchanging pleasantries, cards, numbers, I sent them home with cocoa covered truffles. Truffles always produce good dreams. 10 ChairsNYC will now sleep while new and exciting dishes are conjured up until January. See you then.

BlogRyan Foy