Thanks Jennifer, this was a real treat for me. And playing the part of a legit foodie with a refined palate was no small feat. So many amazing chefs were on deck, it was hard to control my enthusiasm.
The Stage: A breezy, sunlit day atop Rainier Square in downtown Seattle.
The Cast: Elite chefs from the Seattle food scene including Chef Robin Leventhal, Executive Chef of Crave and contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 6, and Chef Ryan Tateishi of the mythically exclusive Canlis.
The Cause: Hosted by the Seattle Chefs Collaborative, the event was held to raise funds for scholarships to Quillisascut Farm School, where culinary students learn sustainable practices by taking produce and livestock straight from the farm to the table.
Spirits were high as guests shuffled down the chow line. On the menu:
1. Grilled Pacific Oysters (as big as a chicken thigh) from Quillisascut Farm
I don’t know how giant oysters end up at a farm in Eastern WA. But who am I to judge?
3. Tomato Panzanella from Chef Leventhal
The only dish that brought me back for thirds. It was like an appetizer, entrée and dessert all in one.
4. Camano Island Smelt with Corn and Sweet Pepper Ragout
I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the highest flavor to size ratio of any fish I’ve had. Good things do come in small packages.
Off the queue flavors overflowed into colorful conversations…
“I’m no chef, but maybe you should lay off the melon every now and then,” was a controversial comment at the Urban Picnic, dividing our table into Pro-Melon and No-Melon Parties.
“What does ‘confit’ mean?” I asked Zephyr Paquette of Elliott Bay Café. “Cooked in Fat? What kind of fat? Bacon fat…. and Duck Fat….WHY DON’T THEY JUST SAY THAT?!?” I’ve since written a letter to the headmaster of Le Cordon Bleu calling for an immediate revocation of the term ‘confit’.
I’ve yet to get a response.
~Arik Abel, Unemployed Gourmet