Last week I was honored to be a guest chef at the inaugural Gracious Gourmand dinner, organized by cutie-pie Joshua Katcher (I mean seriously, he is adorable, and you know it.). It took a lot out of me to cook a super fancy dinner for 30 people (then tote everything to Brooklyn and serve it in a kitchen I’d never worked in before with one tiny burner!), but I had an amazing team working with me: my BFF/sous chef extraordinaire Maresa Volante, and my BFF/life partner [so dorky, but if I said “partner,” you’d think he’s my business partner, and though some times it feels that way, I feel the need to tell you that we have also shared a bed for 13 years.] Jacob Jon Minor Feinberg-Pyne (what a name, I know).
Maresa is a pastry chef who’s collaborated with me before, but I’d never actually worked in a kitchen with Jacob—except for those long nights when he comes to my commercial kitchen to help wash dishes or sweep up, because he’s sweet like that. Technically Jacob is a sound engineer/tour manager who tours around the world with indie rock bands, which means that he eats out a lot. He has been to pretty much every vegan restaurant in these United States, and most abroad. Thus, even though he’s not a trained chef, his dining experiences, along with my constant nattering on about foodie topics, have given him a great ear for food. (That sounded weird, but you get the idea.)
The point is, it was amazing to work so closely with all three of them, and I look forward to many more foodie collaborations in the future!
Now let’s look at photos. Here are most of them, then around Friday I’ll post some just of the tomato aspic dish, because it really deserves its own post.
Oh, and you can see yet more photos over at Joshua’s blog here.
First of all, here’s the menu. We printed it out on brown kraft paper, and it was so rustic chic.
This entree was just a big giant plate of umami: smoky eggplant, homey pasta, nice fried-up squash blossoms–yum!
Can I just brag a little here that *everything* in this meal—from the flour to the flowers—was organic + mostly local? August is an amazing time to be a chef in New York, what can I say.
And there were drinks! Made with organic vodka!