Monday, December 5, 2011

Outstanding at Station 1

Tonight I was given the opportunity to assist the Station 1 chefs at on offsite event called Outstanding In The Field, located at Pie Ranch, in Pescadero. It was a great night of fabulous food, wonderful people, on a beautiful farm setting.  The simple and organic dining room was set for 150 people inside the barn, with white lights strung across the barn ceiling, and bins of farm grown pumpkins linger along the back wall....just gorgeous....

Service started out with hors d'oeuvres, which I was told was about a mile up the road from the barn and make-shift kitchen area. So I hung out down the road and waited for chef, and had a very interesting chat with Marc, who works for Outstanding In The Field. He had a great story to tell about his travels with what he calls his team of "Culinary Gypsies", as they mostly travel together in the "Outstanding" bus, from town to town.

After the hors d'oeuvres were served and enjoyed, the guests came back down the road to enjoy some wine, and wait for their next plate, which was the seasonal appropriate Beet Salad. Head Chef Ryan got a good start on plating, which I got a shot of here....(but somehow did not get a shot of the finished plate)

The next plate was the wildly popular browned butter corn bread with sauteed chanterelle's and black garlic. I loved the plate because I just love corn bread, and my all time favorite food is mushrooms. So, to combine the two, to me is simply divine. Even though this dish would have been my favorite, I think we were all surprised to hear that people were requesting another serving of the dish. We must have plated up another 5 or so chanterelle dishes!

The entree course was what chef referred to as the "Pork Mountain". It was a sautee of butter bean and escarole, topped with house made pork sausage, and medallions of pork shoulder and pork loin. It literally was a pork mountain, topped with chervil and edible flowers (I don't recall the name of the flowers, but they were quite tasty themselves)....

Dessert by Chef Clara was a Pine Needle Panna Cotta with Smoked Bacon Caramel, and Pine Nut Cocoa Nib Crumble. I was not witness to much of Chef Clara's work on her dish, as by this time the temperature dropped dramatically and those of us who weren't busy plating, were hovered around the fire that was slowly dying in the grill.

As the meal winded down, we were asked to enter the barn to make an appearance to the dining guests, and we were thrilled to feel the warmth of the heat lamps, and then to see the smiles on peoples faces. They applauded the chefs, and were given the opportunity to ask a few questions. Of course, there were questions of the newly famous corn bread and chanterelle dish. People wanted the recipe to Ryan's Grandmother's Corn Bread, which should soon be posted on their Facebook page (hint, hint, Ryan!).... and people also asked about the black garlic on the dish, in how that was prepared. Even I hadn't known this, but they were fermented, (not roasted as I had assumed). It was quite fantastic to see that dish become the favorite, because we had been working on obtaining, cleaning, drying, and cooking those chanterelle's all week. What seemed to be the behind the scenes star in the kitchen, became the star of the meal.

And last but certainly not least, the chefs of Station 1....Ryan, Clara, Alex, Mike and Andrew....

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