Travel Agents sending food-loving clients to New York City should consider scheduling them for an event at the James Beard House, a venerated culinary establishment. One recent event drew media attention.
On October 17, The James Beard Foundation hosted a cooking event for the 30th anniversary of Certified Angus Beef. Chefs from various locales contributed to the menu, and every course had to have at least one Certified Angus Beef entry, including—oddly—dessert.
The chefs chosen for the event were Scott Popovic of Certified Angus Beef LLC in Wooster, OH; Michelle Brown of Jag’s Steak & Seafood in West Chester, OH; Dino Jagtiani of Rare and Temptation at Atlantis Casino Courtyard in Cupecoy, St. Maarten; Pastry Chef Randy Sebastian of Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas; Cedric Tovar of Peacock Alley at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC; Jerry Weihbrecht of Zoës in Virginia Beach, VA; and Sommelier Manuel Nieves of The Food and Beverage Solution in Cleveland Heights, OH, who selected the accompanying wines.
I sat down and talked with Dino Jagtiani over lunch one day and he told me that his goal was not only to promote his own eateries but also to promote St. Maarten as a culinary destination. You might notice from the list of chefs that Jagtiani is the only non-U.S. chef to participate in the event. He also happens to be the only St. Maarten-born person to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the Oz of the culinary world.
I was curious as to what kind of dishes he and his staff prepare in his restaurant Temptation (where his mom is the hostess and his dad “sits at the bar and socializes”). Chef Dino is very proud of their signature dish: Foie Gras PB&J. It consists of fig jelly tucked inside a puff pastry shell and topped with a slice of foie gras. Where does the “PB” come in? In order to keep the puff pastry from sliding around, they decided to put a dab of peanut butter underneath, and a gastronomic PB&J was born. And Temptation has enjoyed a celebrity following—guests have included Patti LaBelle, Danny DeVito, Richard Branson, Chris Rock, Joan Collins (much to the delight of Jagtiani’s dad), various athletes, and Anthony Bourdain himself has eaten there four times.
Visitors do not have to be members of the James Beard Foundation to attend events; however, reservations for events must be made in advance and confirmed prior to attending. And, of course, non-members pay more than members, about $30 more. To book your clients for any of the James Beard Foundation events, go to www.jamesbeard.org/?q=node/17 for a calendar of events and prices.
Curious as to what the James Beard menu was like? Well, here it is:
Duck Sausage with Red and Green Pepper Syrups and Caramelized Onion Gougère
Certified Angus Beef Lollipops with Sweet Potato and Ohio Maple Syrup
Mussel Tempura with Asian Rémoulade and Wasabi Tobiko
Grilled Pork Cheek Skewers with Espresso-Yuzu Caramel
Maryland Crab with Roasted Corn, Jalapeño, and Coconut–Curry Cream
Hess Allomi Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Morel-Dusted Certified Angus Beef Rib-Eye Cap with Truffle Butter, Shaved Black Truffles, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and Caramelized Artichoke Heart
Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvée 2005
Summer Roll with Certified Angus Beef Rib Fillet, Tatsoi, Green Papaya, Lime Vinaigrette, and Coconut
Hess Shirtail Creek Vineyard Chardonnay 2007
Braised Certified Angus Beef® Chuck with Roasted Pumpkin Purée, Smoked Apple Pâte de Fruit, Fried Blue Cheese, Salted Pumpkin Seeds, and Cinnamon Incense
Artezin Dry Creek Zinfandel 2006
Seared Certified Angus Beef Prime Dry-Aged Strip Loin with West Indian Crab Salad, Whipped Mustard, Caramelized Shallot Demi-Glace, and Sautéed Spaetzle
Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Pinot Noir–Poached Certified Angus Beef Prime Filet Mignon with Oxtail Marmalade, Bone Marrow–Parsley Quenelle, Vendangeurs Potatoes, and Jus
Hess Small Block Series Pinot Noir 2006
Monte Cristo—Cinnamon-Spiced Brioche with Certified Angus Beef Pastrami, Apricot High Desert Honey, and Humboldt Fog Chèvre, Served with Sweet Potato Pommes Frites, Cardamom Ice Cream, and Chef’s Garden Micro-Mint Salad
Hess Su'skol Vineyard Late Harvest Chardonnay 2006