On April 1st I was invited to a chef dinner tasting by the good folks at City Gourmet. Of course, I thought this was an April Fools joke but too my delight and extreme pleasure it wasn’t.
The young chef who will remain nameless since the position with the company has not been decided created an enjoyable meal. During the chit-chat hour he presented three distinctive hors d’oeuvres. Pork Rillette with grain mustard and crostini, mini twice baked potatoes with truffle essence and cheddar cheese inside and sprinkled on top and grilled sourdough and Piave cheese with tomato relish. I loved the grilled sourdough and Piave cheese the most. I could easily ate the whole platter by myself. The hint of olive oil and bite of Piave cheese made my mouth oh so happy! I also liked the bite size mini twice baked potatoes. It had a hint of salt and creamy flavor that made me hum along with the music playing in the background.
On to the first course of a nice petite salad that was okay. I was hoping to taste a bit more of apple cider in the vinaigrette but didn’t get the kick promised in the description. It was nicely plated however. Second course was roast chicken with bacon, cauliflower and potato puree, brussels sprouts, turnips and carrots with a natural chicken jus. I didn’t have to fight to get the chicken off the bone, it cut nicely and was not dry. The puree benefited from the bacon bits but what meal doesn’t improve with some bacon. I like a bit of seasoning on my food and found the dish to be a bit on the bland side. I did enjoy it however and so did the other dinner guests.
My only let down for the chef dinner tasting meal was dessert. I am such a sweet freak that anything falling short of making my sweet taste buds stand up and take notice just leaves me flat. The chef provided french toast with caramelized apples, pecan, vanilla creme fraiche and sherry maple syrup. Now this dish has everything I enjoyed expect it wasn’t sweet. Not. At. All. Darn! The toast was raisin bread. It wasn’t sweet. The sherry maple syrup believe or not was not really sweet. Really. And the caramelized fruit didn’t say hello or even I’m here on my plate. It’s a smart dish that I’m sure if the sweet part is pumped up, it will be a winner.
After each course and at the end of the meal, the young chef took the time to come out to the diners and talk with us about the dining experience. No one was cruel or nasty with their assessment. Everyone gave feedback about the dishes they liked or didn’t with an honest opinion. The young chef accepted the feed back, acknowledged some mistakes, was thankful for what we enjoyed and promised to improve. What more can you ask of a chef.
If this young chef doesn’t get the job, I hope he continues to find himself a home to provide the community with great meals. Happy eating!