A culinary trend that has been sweeping through the upper echelons of the restaurant world is the use of technical methods for preparation and presentation, sometimes known as molecular gastronomy. Imaginative chefs have formed familiar flavors into incredible shapes and instilled unsuspecting flavors into familiar looking items that is nothing short of wizardry for the naïve diner.
On May 6, 2012 we had our own gastronomic adventure at our Induction Gala courtesy of the Heritage Club and the talents of Chef Jeffrey Brown. We challenged him to focus on bringing some unexpected surprises onto our plates after we welcomed new members into the bailliage. J. Lassalle Brut Champagne was served upon our entry and a selection of delicious appetizers included cherry tomatoes stuffed with shrimp and a Bloody Mary shot, smoked Gouda and chicken tarts, and grilled white asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with truffle oil that went particularly well with the Champagne.
Chambellan Provincial Midwest Renee Wilmeth made great sacrifice by leaving the national Mondiale meeting in Napa early to officiate her first induction ceremony. She took assured control of the sword and vine stock and we were happy to add ten new Chaîne members and add five Mondiale confrères.
Chef Brown started us well with Kumato tomato and sea scallop with basil dust and balsamic pearls that looked like black caviar. A 2009 Jobard Meursault had flinty mineral tones to graciously complement the food. Deconstructed strawberry salad featured a fun strawberry-red wine vinegar gelée and a nice salty Boursin component. A course of sea bass was buttery throughout with an unusual tomato-carrot powder that all made another great match for 2010 Neyers Ranch Carneros Chardonnay.
Our entrée was roasted New Zealand rack of lamb with Yukon Gold potatoes, morel mushrooms, caramelized spring onion demi-glacé, and tomato garlic caviar giving another unique twist. This perfectly cooked dish was almost too pretty to eat, but appetite beat visual drama as we heartily indulged in this masterpiece with glasses of 2004 Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, a fabulous complex wine that kept offering new discoveries with each sniff and sip.
Dessert featured dark chocolate cake with hints of bitter unsweetened chocolate paired with white chocolate “spaghetti” topped with a sphere of raspberry essence for a wonderful finale to an affirmation to Chaîne camaraderie. Our thanks go to Chambellan Provincial Midwest Renee Wilmeth, Chef Jeffery Brown, and the attentive staff at the Heritage Club.
J.T. Mayer, Chargé de Presse Provincial Midwest