Guest Chefs: Getting Chefs Out of the Restaurants
When Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen finalist Paula DaSilva showed her Miami heat to the James Beard House yesterday, the 1500 Degrees executive chef brought with her not only the whole kitchen staff, but a little bit of sunshine to the five-course menu. As the beaming DaSilva thanked everyone for coming, I felt the praise went to her for letting me try her Brazilian-inspired, farm-to-table food without ever having to step on a plane.
As the concept of celebrity chef becomes increasingly popular, a lot of other restaurants are sending their cooks to the city to showcase their food in a series of one-up dinners. Sine 1986 the not-for-profit James Beard House has been one of the biggest providers of this type of dining. Some upcoming meals to look forward to include the pork-centric feast by Daniel Doyle of Poogan’s Porch in Charleston on June 14. Then they host more Hell’s Kitchen alumni as Connecticut based chefs Kevin Cottle and Van Hurd do a soft shell crab extravaganza on July 11, and, on July 19, chef Adam Keough from the San Francisco will bring a taste of Absinthe Brasserie and Bar to the table.
City Grit is another way to experience chefs from around the country. Run by Food & Wine’s Home Cook Superstar Sarah Simmons, the pop-up establishment is meant to showcase chefs that don’t always get to be the stars of their own restaurants or ones visiting the city. Today and tomorrow, they feature award winning chef John Currence from City Grocery in Mississippi as part of their new series “Secrets Behind the Chef.” Past chefs have included Top Chef contestant Ty-Lor Boring previewing his upcoming restaurant and “the angry chef” from Atlanta, Ron Eyester. The schedule goes up monthly, so check it out for upcoming events.
For those wanting to try star chef’s food in a more intimate setting, and give something to charity, on July 24 Just Food and the Sylvia Centerhave put together A City Farmer, A Chef, and A Host a series of 14 dinners that take place at private homes around the city. Though this event is geared toward local chefs, it’s a good way to try some food from some of the hottest restaurants around and features chefs like Dan Kluger from ABC Kitchen, Robert Gurvich of Alison Eighteen, and Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch. It’s expensive, sure, but lets you experience these chefs in a whole new light.
No matter which way you go, the time of having to go to one restaurant (or many, if it’s Danny Meyer) to sample a chef’s cuisine is slowly changing, which is great for many diners.