On the balmy evening of August 4, 2014, more than 70 local Chaîne members and their guests gathered about 45 minutes north of Cincinnati at Rue Dumaine in Dayton. This was our annual charity wine event and a dine-around, where each person brings a bottle of exceptional wine to share. The restaurant is located in an unassuming strip mall, but the experience was anything but ordinary. Chef Anne Kearney and her husband/business partner Tom Sand opened the restaurant in 2007 and received rave reviews from the culinary community right from the start. Anne studied under Chefs John Neal and Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans. After Neal’s death in 1995, she purchased his Peristyle restaurant and achieved great acclaim. She is one of five chefs who was awarded a “Southwest Regional Best Chef” nomination in 1999, 2000, 2001, and in 2002. Also in 2002, she earned the prestigious title of “Best Chef Southeast.” Chef Kearney and her husband moved back to Dayton in 2004 to be close to their families and the local culinary scene has never been the same.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were led to an exquisite walnut bar where our wines were placed with selections brought by the other guests. In gazing around the restaurant, we were immersed in a French Bistro atmosphere complete with wood and wrought iron accents. An exposé kitchen allowed guests to watch the staff painstakingly prepare each course. As we reminisced with our friends, three appetizers were passed: house smoked trout rillettes with cucumber preserve lemon relish; rabbit terrine with apricot chutney, Dijon, and cornichon on a toasted baguette crouton; and Moroccan lamb skewers with mint yogurt. We were then led to our tables and served chilled poached sea scallops with roasted beets, arugula, house-cured pancetta, and charred onion-thyme vinaigrette. I thought that this first course was greatly enhanced with a 2011 Shafer Chardonnay brought by our Bailli Honoraire Irwin Weinberg and his wife Barbara. The second course consisted of brandied peach braised pork with a summer herb basmati croquette, broccolini, and peach-pistachio conserve. The peach-pistachio accent gave the pork a sweet little pizzazz that paired well with some German offerings. Finally we were dazzled by a blackberry corn cake with goat’s milk nougat glacé and blackberry coulis. In my informal polling, it was this final course that seemed to be most memorable for its uniquely intertwined flavors.
Throughout the evening, guests participated in an annual silent wine auction where wines from previous Chaîne dinners were offered to raise money for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Irwin and Barbara Culinary Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is awarded annually to help deserving students of the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State. By the end of the evening, the auction had raised $3,680. Before leaving for home, we all thanked Bailli George Elliott and Professionel du Vin Carmen Parks for organizing the dinner as well as Vice Echanson Mike Monnin for coordinating the wine action. What a way to spend an evening – exceptional food and wine, good friends, and supporting the education of future chefs!
Graig W. Smith, MD, Vice Chargé de Presse