In a narrow brick townhouse on a quiet street in New York's Greenwich Village, you'll find one of the world's busiest and most storied kitchens. For more than 250 days a year, the James Beard House plays host to the country's leading chefs, allowing visitors to experience the cuisine of established culinary luminaries as well as emerging superstars. Here the legacy of the incomparable James Beard (1903-1985) is continued by the James Beard Foundation, which purchased the visionary chef's home after his death. The Foundation has created a living memorial whose mission is "to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America's culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence."
On March 22, the JBH welcomed Team Vermont, a group of the Green Mountain State's most accomplished and honored chefs who are at the cutting edge of Vermont's bugeoning locavore movement.
The night was dreary, with a hard spring rain that kept the evening's guests away from the house's inviting garden. Instead, hors d'oeuvre were passed in a room off the kitchen where diners, packed elbow to elbow, were offered a hint at the gustatory delights to come.
Misty Knoll Farms Chicken Liver B.L.T.s
Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese Toasts with House-Cured Bacon and Wildflower Honey
Caesar Salad Ice Cream Cones
Aaron’s Corn Dogs
Vermont Beef Tenderloin Tartare with Radishes and Fried Pickles
Wanabea Farm Country Rabbit Pâté with Long Trail Brewmaster Series Imperial Porter Mustard and Pickled Turnips
Bill Whiting, Banfi
The cocktail hour featured Principessa Perlante, a crisp white wine with a hint of sparkle. It was the first of eight amazing selections, chosen to pair perfectly with each course. All the wines for the evening were supplied by Banfi Vintners, which has been owned and operated by one family since it was founded in 1919. Bill Whiting, grandson of the founder and Director of Wine Education for Banfi, mingled with the guests and spoke passionately about his family's wine business.
The hors d'oeuvre gave a tantalizing preview of the evening's offerings, so guests welcomed the announcement that dinner was served. Though the small, elegant rooms were not created to seat so many diners, tables of six, eight and ten somehow magically fit into the various levels of Beard's home and Team Vermont began the main event.
It's difficult to refrain from a loving and protracted description of each of the seven courses and the incredible wines that accompanied them, but that attempt might take this beyond a mere blog post and into novel length territory. Instead I'll introduce the dazzlingly talented chefs of Team Vermont and the dishes they created in James Beard's kitchen. Remember them and their restaurants. Stop by and say hello the next time you find yourself in Vermont.
While I don't have a picture of every course, I've included a few to whet your visual appetite as well as your palate. Bon appétit!
TEAM VERMONT DINNER, JAMES BEARD HOUSE, MARCH 22, 2010
Aaron Josinsky, Bluebird Tavern, Burlington Vermont
Charcuterie Assiette (San Angelo Pinot Grigio)
Steve Atkins, The Kitchen Table Bistro, Richmond Vermont
Heirloom Squash Soup, Roasted Sun Chokes, Misty Knoll Chicken & Spiced Cream (Centine Bianco)
Heirloom Squash Soup
Rogan Lechthaler, Verde, Stratton Vermont
Barramundi, Rutabaga, Turnip Greens, House Cured Guanciale Dressing (Centine Rose)
Sean Buchanan, Solstice, Stowe Vermont
Cavendish Quail, Pork Belly, Cider Glaze, Smoked Cheddar Polenta, Bacon Braised Greens, Basil Honey
(Centine Rosso di Toscana)
Eric Warnstedt, Hen of the Wood, Waterbury Vermont
Maine Lobster, Spring Dug Parsnip, Brown Butter (Belnero)
Mark Timms, Topnotch Resort & Spa, Stowe Vermont
Deconstructed Beef Wellington, Pickled Tongue, Braised Heart, Oxtail, Demi Cube, Virtual Egg (Poggio Alle Mura)
Deconstructed Beef Wellington
Lara Atkins, The Kitchen Table Bistro, Richmond Vermont
Open Faced Coffee Chocolate Sundae, Candied Almonds, Vanilla Anglaise (Rosa Regale)
And they all lived happily ever after...