Thursday, September 15, 2005

An Incredible Feast....Part Two

Here is the second half of the chef/farmer duo's that were featured in last sunday's Incredible Feast held at the West Seattle's farmers market. For a description of the event and the first half of these pairs, scroll down and see my last post.

Chef Jason Wilson is a relative new comer to the Seattle restaurant scene. While he had been spreading his talent through catering for a few years, his restaurant in an old vintage home in madison park just opened within the past year. The last menu I checked looked tempting with local huckleberries paired with foie gras. His partner for the event was a salty man appropriately named "Oyster Bill" who runs an outfit out of Shelton called Taylor Shellfish. What you see in the picture is a tomato basil gazpacho with a freshly shucked oyster slipped into the bottom. Consumed in one quick shot, the clean salty flavor of the oyster shined through the mildly acidic quality of the gazpacho. The program promised Crush to deliver an English pea and oyster soup with lovage which I had high hopes for. But this replacement left nothing to long for.


Chef Walter Pisano of Tulio was paired with the only cheesemaker of the evening, Port Madison Farm. This farm crafts very nice goats milk cheeses along with yogurt. The cheese featured by Pisano was the goat cheese Brie. This was served on a thin slice of baguette toasted crisp and dotted with a sweet tomato jam to make what Pisano called a Bruschetta. Goats milk creates cheeses that are fresh, lean, and acidic which could be considered the opposite of a ripe triple cream Brie. Port Madison hit the mark with this Brie bringing the usual characteristics of cheve with an added richness that was delightful. And by changing the traditional fresh, zesty tomato garlic topping of bruschetta into a sweet, deep tomato jam, Pisano found a better partner for this cheese.


From a farm called Tiny's Organics came a peach with a big flavor. Chef Blake Caldwell who recently took the helm at Ballard restaurant Market Street grill brought with him a minimalistic, refined style. With Tiny's perfect peach, Blake created the simple, perfect Peach Salad with Mint and Cardamom Creme Fraiche. The peaches were sliced and tossed lightly with lemon juice, honey, and a chiffonade of fresh mint leaves. Over the top was drizzled the lean flavor of creme fraiche barely sweetened and scented with the unmistakable presence of cardamom. Blakes refined simplicity has never failed to excite me, and his treatment of a peach was no exception.


The odd couple of the evening must have been Skagit River Ranch and sushi chef Taichi of Chiso in Fremont. Dare I say it? A surf and turf couple? But these two answered the age old question, "what happens when you give a sushi chef a steak?" To be truly accurate, it was organic ribeye steak from grass fed cows. The answer is Ribeye Steak Bites in Hayashi Demi Glaze over Steamed Rice. This was my father's favorite bite of the evening as he went back for seconds twice. Here he is smiling, his eyes saying, "good stew!"


A kitchen headed by siblings Eric and Sophie Bahn, Monsoon has been using pacific northwest ingredients to enhance their Vietnamese cuisine for 6 years. For this event they were paired with Tonnemaker Farms and given the chance to show off with Heirloom tomatoes. They used these tomatoes to create the other salad (Eva's being the first) with watercress, a sesame vinaigrette, and a topping of sweet crispy fried shallots.


Chef Christine Keff has been receiving over 50 percent of Flying Fish's produce from Whistling Train Farm for years now. (My friend Becca and I recieved 100 percent of our produce from the same little farm last year with a summer subscription.) Whistling Train strives not just to grow vegetables, but keeps chickens for eggs and eating, and raises pigs. Flying Fish took atvantage of whistling trains lemon basil leaves using them as a bed for a lemon basil vinaigrette covered seared scallop.


The flamboyant chef Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez paired with Willie Greens to bring us a basque delight. He used Willies fresh seasonal beans in a salad with caramelized carrots and onions. These nested a hidden artichoke heart that was used to prop a crisp slice of serrano ham up like the feather on a fedora. Over this salad was a dressing made from spanish paprika and a finish of smoked seasalt hand delivered by the chef himself. The composition of the dish was as striking as the subtle and honest flavors.


Rovers, the restaurant that is proud to be the home of "the chef in the hat", was paired with Loki Fish. They were given use of wild coho salmon. With these amazing fish, the chef in the hat Thierry Raututeau prepared them on the rare side of medium rare with a coating of Moroccan Olive-Harissa Tapende. The fish from the chef in the hat was deliciously rich with the deep flavor of olives and the heat of harissa.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great report Dana! I wish I could have been there with you to sample all the Seattle chef's work. Maybe next year. Keep up the good work on the blog!


September 15, 2005 5:50 PM  

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