Here's what's happening at the Beard House next week:
Monday, March 8, 7:00 P.M.
The Art of Craft
Though he became a household name as a Top Chef judge, Tom Colicchio has long been a celebrity in foodie circles. The winner of four JBF Awards, Colicchio began his culinary ascent at Gramercy Tavern and has since made an indelible mark on the industry with his empire of Craft restaurants. For this special dinner, he and the chefs of his NYC restaurants will create a menu of their signature straightforward yet nuanced cuisine.
Tuesday, March 9, 7:00 P.M.
Top Chef Sibling Rivalry
Superstar siblings Bryan Voltaggio and Michael Voltaggio kept Top Chef viewers riveted last season with their cutthroat kitchen rivalry. At this exciting event, Bryan
Two servers exchange a tray of palate-cleansing chillers made with Ciroc vodka, frozen fruit, and verjus, a highly acidic juice that's pressed from unripe grapes. For more photos of the dinner, which was prepared by Scott Mickelson of Paragon at Foxwoods Resort, click here
Haute boil-in-bag cooking. Conceptually the opposite of pressure cooking, sous-vide is a technique whereby foods are vacuum sealed in plastic bags and cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath. It was developed by Georges Pralus in 1974, while he was working at Troisgros. Sous-vide spread throughout the Michelin three-star set, but it didn't make a large impact in the United States until now, when it seems to be filling a vacuum. Because most sous-vide dishes are prepared individually, it aids in portion control and increases efficiency on the hot line. Cooking in a sealed environment also minimizes product shrinkage. And rather than evaporating into the air, the juices and flavors remain trapped inside the bag. The sous-vide technique also proves helpful as chefs increasingly travel to cook guest dinners; they can literally just boil in the bag, slit it open, and serve.
After apprenticing with renowned JBF Award winner Georges Perrier (Le Bec-Fin), Carlo deMarco set out on his own in the Main Line area of Philadelphia. After opening 333 Belrose and Firecreek Restaurant & Bar, he quickly attracted his own fans and accolades (including a coveted “Chef to Watch” designation from Esquire
). We’ll get a taste of his contemporary American cuisine to the Beard House on Friday, March 5:
Apple Trio > Apple Cider Bisque with Crisp Apple Chips; Green Apple, Bibb Lettuce, and Maytag Blue Cheese Salad with Candied Walnuts; and Chicken Livers with Spiced Apple Compote
Pan-Seared Copper River Salmon with Warm Black Lentil Salad, Lobster–Tarragon Sauce, and Micro-Arugula
Coffee and Macadamia–Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Slow-Roasted Yams and Mango, Lime, and Ginger Salsa
Candied Bacon–Crusted Squab Breast with Anson Mills Grits, Molasses-Spiked Collard Greens, and Jus
Mike Davis of Terra in West Columbia, South Carolina, served this classic New Orleans shrimp rémoulade at the Beard House last month; he made the dish extra special by adding fried green tomatoes and Benton's country ham. See more photos of his Southern menu here
Japanese potstickers. Like many Japanese culinary traditions—chopsticks, noodles, and soy sauce, to name a few—gyoza, or pan-fried pork dumplings, were borrowed from the Chinese. Even the Japanese name is derived from the Mandarin jiaozi
. A relative newcomer, it's believed gyoza arrived in Japan sometime in the 1930s, after the Japanese invasion of China, and were popularized around the country during the 1940s. Today, the Japanese dumplings have a more heavily seasoned filling and thinner dough than their Chinese cousins. Fried on one side until crisp then steamed until tender, gyoza are one of the few non-noodle dishes found on menus in ramen shops in Japan, where they are served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame or chili oil. There are also gyoza restaurants. True gyoza lovers should find their way to Ikebukuro's Sunshine City complex where part of the Namco Namjatown amusement
Lorenzo Polegri—chef at the famed Zeppelin in Orvieto, Italy—served these tiny cornmeal and rosemary focaccia rounds with gorgonzola mousse and chives during the reception of his Beard House dinner. You can see more photos of the Italian feast by clicking here
Chewing the fat. Though Corby Kummer described lardo as "heaven on bread" in a 2005 New York Times
article, this porky product is actually made from the layer of fat located directly under a pig's skin, which is then seasoned and cured. For most Americans, a slice of pork fat wasn't always the most appetizing antipasto, but in recent years this delicious Italian delicacy has been winning over fans on this side of the Atlantic, thanks in part to celebrity chefs like Mario Batali, whose lardo pizza at his NYC eatery Otto has become a favorite of critics and diners alike. After all, what self-respecting carnivore can argue with paper-thin slices of seasoned, glistening, translucent fat delicately draped over pizza dough—or any other carbohydrate for that matter? But in Italy, long before it was the ingredient del giorno, lardo was traditionally peasant fare, made from the fat that remained after the pig was butchered
Rehashed hog hodgepodge. Though a packed loaf of pig scraps and offal may not entice those with squeamish stomachs, scrapple has been enjoyed in the Pennsylvania Dutch region since its first settlers set up shop there. (According to the Habbersett company
—which has been slinging scrapple since 1863—the product was invented in Chester County, PA, home to the state’s oldest colony.) Similar to black pudding or German panhas
, scrapple was an invention born of frugality, a delicious way to use up every last piece of the pig after slaughtering. To the leftover porky parts New World pioneers added buckwheat and cornmeal—two crops indigenous to the area—and seasonings before setting in loaf-shaped molds. Sliced and fried until golden brown, scrapple has a crispy texture and well-spiced flavor similar to that of a country sausage patty. You can still find it in