I have so much admiration for people who are passionate about food. There's nothing quite like seeing the look on their faces when they describe the last meal they cooked. And when friends who all love food come together to enjoy a carefully-prepared menu of seven courses, a magical six-hour evening ensues.
My good friend Chanse recently created a concept called Chef's Table—a place where strangers can turn into friends through culinary arts and their mutual love for food. After four years into his career as a multimedia director, he decided to take a break from the world of advertising and take on the world of culinary arts. He went from grill cook to line cook through years of culinary experience with a variety of cuisine types. Eventually, he went back to the advertising industry, but never lost his love for cooking.
Chanse created Chef's Table as a way to satisfy his passion for cooking without having to deal with the pains of entrepreneurship by owning a restaurant. His goal of Chef's Table is to create a culture around food, and in the future, invite other chefs to share their love for food with even more people.
We had an amazing evening at the inaugural Chef's Table, and I was lucky enough to get to experience two additional courses on top of the seven he prepared for us that evening. Each dish was an amazing, wholesome experience.
I showed up a bit early (I admit, I was really excited for all of the food), and Chanse prepared some oven-roasted edamame with a secret combination of spices for me while he finished preparing. The edamame was a perfect blend of salty and sweet, and paired perfectly with a glass of Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Remole.
On a whim, he plated some sesame seed crackers topped with herb salame, duck pâté, mushroom-infused Brie and scallions. This was an amazing combination of flavor! I was expecting it to be strong in pâté flavor, but the Brie did a perfect job of balancing out the hor d'oeurve.
After all the guests arrived and we sat down at the Chef's Table, Chanse presented us with our first course: a spinach soup topped with chopped bacon and a dollop of crème fraîche. What a treat; with a little bit of lime squeezed in and some sautéed sweet peppers added, it was a delicious starter to the rest of our meal.
The next course consisted of sliced yellow tomatoes topped with thinly-sliced prosciutto, red onions, fresh basil and parmesan cheese, with pistachio oil and balsamic drizzled on top. This was such a refreshing course, and a great follow-up to the heavier spinach soup. The prosciutto and basil added great flavor to the tomatoes, and there was just enough balsamic without it being too overwhelming in flavor.
The third course was a spicy tuna tartare, placed in a dashi and daikon broth, and topped with caviar and scallions. This dish surprised me, as I had no idea what to expect. The broth gave the tartare an intriguing, yet pleasant, flavor, and the caviar was not as strong as I expected it to be. Just a single spoonful of tuna combined with the dashi broth brought such an amazing, unexplainable flavor to our palates.
The next course was chicken-stuffed chicken, hand-breaded and flash-fried, glazed with a homemade, secret recipe barbecue sauce and topped with scallions. A side of carrot salad provided a sweet, spicy and crunchy combination that perfectly complemented the chicken dish.
Next were slices of ultra-tender pork belly paired with deep-fried eggplant, and topped with a miso/garlic sauce. I have never had pork belly this tender before! It was so delicious, and the eggplant was so sweet—I couldn't get enough!
Rounding out the main courses was a lamb lollipop dish, atop a cauliflower mash with a roasted mushroom and miso gravy on top. As full as I was at this point, this course was too good to pass up. The lamb was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, and the cauliflower mash was to die for.
Chanse says he's not a dessert person, but his selection was a perfect completion to the evening. We ended Chef's Table with a scoop of strawberry sorbet in a fruit and sake puree, topped with chopped mint and rosemary with granular honey sprinkled on top. As simple as it was, it was delicious, and made the perfect palate cleanser following a wide array of entrees.
It was such a pleasure to be a part of Chanse's Chef's Table and I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes this concept from here. His next event will be in April and will cater to those with a vegetarian palate. You can visit the Chef's Table Facebook page here, for more mouthwatering pictures and updates on his latest Chef's Table adventures!