Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An ode to one of my favorite Chefs

I would like to take a moment and celebrate a Chef who's work has truly inspired me and really demonstrates that a true culinary professional doesn't need Michelin stars or molecular gastronomy (or even a restaurant) to produce amazing food.  George Tremblay is someone who I truly see as a testament to this.

I know I've written a few times now about Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro in Foxboro, Mass, but during James' birthday celebration dinner, there were a few highlights I'd love to showcase.  As per usual, we put the menu into the capable hands of their culinary professionals [in this case, George] and opted for the "5-course Chef's Tasting" which began with a tender, slightly acidic escargot salad on a bed of arugula.

This was followed by one of my personal favorite courses... a house made duck sausage with crispy shallots served a top a vibrant beet puree.  The slight fattiness of the sausage, paired with earthiness in the puree created this amazingly unctuous mouthfeel and also paired exceptionally well with the 2005 Caldwell Rocket Science Cabernet Sauvignon.

As our third course, we were brought one of the most beautifully prepared pieces of fluke I've ever eaten.  When it comes to seafood, I'm an advocate of simple preparation and a focus on balance of extreme flavors - which this dish demonstrated beautifully.  

For our fourth course, which was decidedly my favorite (and not only because it was served in a skillet... I do love skillets), was a tender, perfectly seasoned play on "corned beef hash" prepared with a braise short rib, horseradish aioli and a silky egg yolk.  Well cooked short rib may very well be one of the quickest paths to my heart...

While it was James' birthday, dessert may have been a bit more geared to my taste - duck liver mousse filled beignets, confetti birthday cake with foie gras icing and bacon ice cream.  Initially, you may be cringing... as did James... however, I would like to preface your preconceptions with the thought that none of our dessert flavors even remotely resembled organ meats.  The foie gras and duck liver mousse really just contributed a textural component to create a creaminess that you typically would never experience in a traditional butter cream icing or pastry cream filling.  

Unfortunately for us, this was our final Chef's Tasting dinner prepared by George... he's left to pursue other culinary adventures with Roxy's Grilled Cheese.  My initial response was a bit of shock... upscale farm to table dining to a food truck seemed like an interesting transition but being that I'm a culinary stalker, I wanted to see what the hype was about and I stand by my opening statement.  You do not need a restaurant to produce amazing food.  

We are actually talking about the best grilled cheese I may have ever had... and as someone who considers herself a try connoisseur of the grilled cheese... that's no small statement.  On our most recent venture to Roxy's, we opted for a "Green Munster" [munster, guacamole and bacon], a "C.L.B.T." [confit chicken, arugula, tomato, Vermont cheddar, bacon and truck-made ranch dressing] and the most flavor-packed rosemary truffle fries you can imagine.  

I consider making the perfect grilled cheese an art, one which Roxy's has perfected.  Although we will truly miss George's culinary innovations during our special occasion dinners [and henceforth have begun the search for a new go-to restaurant], I get it... and wish him nothing but the best of luck in his new endeavor.  

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