I'll post the menu below and if you try to guess the two things I liked best or the two things I liked least, I'll enter you to win on Monday an autographed copy of my book It's No Secret and free access to the conference calls Melissa Taylor and I will be doing in a couple weeks in an online study of my book.
But first, let me explain who made this interpretation of the 17 Classical Courses of French Cuisine. This was a thrown down with 33 chefs from 16 higher education institutions (including my own UNC system).
The chefs were divided into groups, then each group was given seven mystery ingredients and three hours to prepare two courses with them. The courses were then judged by experts and three chefs were chosen to advance to the national competition. Rick and I, along with some other university representatives, got to eat the meal after the judges sampled and chose.
(sorry for the blurry cell phone photo)
Without further adieu, here is the menu - which I was handed as soon as I walked in the door so I knew everything I was eating. I still can't believe I ate every single thing listed here! And really there were only two that I would rather not put in my mouth again - that astounds me!
marinated local lamb ravioli with tomato ragout, mint caviar, and fried basil
Hors d'oeuvre (appetizer)
black garbanzo bean hummus with pink Hawaiian sea salt, tri-pepper relish, and fontina cheese
local collards soup with bird's eye pepper powder and smoked fromage blanc (white cheese)
local quail egg with deep fried pork belly, smokey tomato vinaigrette, and micro greens
Farineaux (rice or pasta)
black squid ink risotto with plugra herb butter, Parmesan chip and chive gremolata
Fire & Ice (fish)
FIRE: local stripped sea bass cooked on Himalayan salt bocks with sweet pepper chutney
ICE: raw stripped sea bass with citrus ceviche, radish, green onion and sweet pepper chutney
Sorbet (flavored ice)
Cabernet Savignon sorbet with blueberry jelly
Releve (meat course)
local pickled beef tongue with fried aioli, arugula and brioche
local shredded goat with sweet potato latke and chive creme friache
ratatouille "martini", green goddess drizzle, ricotta salata, alfalfa sprouts
Caesar "gelato" in cornet with romaine lettuce and fried anchovy
Buffet Froid (cold buffet)
local rabbit sausage with rosemary focaccia crisp, red dragon cheese and daikon sprouts
Entremet de Sucre (sweets)
black bean and carob cupcake with orange creme frosting and sugar-smacked bacon sprinkles
fava bean and pear cupcake with pecorino and local goat cheese icing, topped with fried sage
local goat cheese with grape and spiced pecan
Muenster cheese with green apple and micro greens
local Carolina blue cheese with orange date-nut bread
lemon pound cake with lemon curd and earl grey tea with local honey and thyme drizzle
espresso truffle with beignet and hazelnut vanilla foam, with coffee
Here's what I learned: A top chef is a true artist, using a palate of colors and flavors. He or she can make anything taste good. I learned that herbs take on an interesting new twist when flash fried. And salts have different colors and flavors depending on where they are mined from. I also discovered exactly what rabbit sausage, beef tongue, goat meat, raw sea bass and black squid ink taste like.
And I found I'm a more adventurous eater than I previously thought. I guess watching all those Food Network shows and reading French Lessons by Peter Mayle paid off.
Any guesses on which two things I liked best or least?
Anything here sound totally yummy to you?
Besides the expresso truffle, because that's a no-brainer. :)
This post is linked at Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays.