Last weekend, on October 13, both local and nationally recognized James Beard Award winners teamed up to wow guests at the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America event in Philadelphia. The food-focused gala took place in the lobby and great hall of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia’s historic Old City.
During cocktail hour, guests were treated to an array of delicacies. Hors d’oeuvre ranged from sweet to savory, classic to experimental. Scott Andersen of Elements & Mistral did a twist on a classic with his decadent foie gras torchon accompanied with notes of apple, hickory, and shiso and topped with edible flowers. Camille Cogswell of Zahav brought some Israeli influence to the Taste America table with a light and creamy custard with the surprising, yet perfect black tea and pomegranate gelée, candied almonds, and fresh figs. Another culinary cult hero, Nicholas Elmi of Laurel, packed a flavorful punch with his cured scallop dish paired with sweet baby corn, sunflower, and preserved truffles. The team from Sodexo served up a delicious pepper pot of beef cheeks and tripe paired with roasted vegetables and potato purée and topped with an extra crunch.
For dinner, guests were treated to food and fun as they enjoyed four wine-paired courses and fought to outbid the next person for some very exciting opportunities (an in-home dinner prepared by the legendary Jean-Marie Lacroix of Brûlée Catering by Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, anyone?). For the first course, Greg Vernick of Vernick Food and Drink prepared a heart of romaine with figs and melted aged cheddar drizzled with a buttermilk dressing. Next, the Lacroix team wowed with a decorative plate of charred yet tender octopus, smoked fingerlings, lemon, and guanciale, dotted with a shellfish vinaigrette. Marc Murphy of Benchmarc Restaurants brought the house down with a main course of killer braised beef short ribs, polenta, broccoli rabe, and wild mushrooms. A relative newcomer to the food scene, Pat O’Malley of Hungry Pigeon, stunned the crowd with a warm “all the apples” strudel with a crab apple marmalade and crème fraîche ice cream.
So, how did we like those JBF apples? Very much so.
For more information, please visit the James Beard Foundation website.