Elegant flair at Chefdance 2012 | Buzz Blog

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Elegant flair at Chefdance 2012

Posted By on January 22, 2012, 3:04 PM

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A wallop of flavor within the realm of food art--as prepared by Chad White of San Diego's Sea Rocket--kicked off Chefdance 2012 last Friday night.---

The evening began with a pre-dinner cocktail, which was paired with two dishes--cinnamon roll gnocchi and kimchee cotton candy--the later was an unholy combination, but the former far redeemed it. This is where producers and creatives and even "bridge and tunnel" folk--a term that I learned tonight for guido-like, out-of-place characters--meet and schmooze, drink and make deals.

I met a couple who summed up the Chefdance experience fairly well. "It is almost exhausting. You eat and drink and eat some more--maybe too much. And I'm French, so that says something," says producer Emmanuel Itier with a laugh. "When you finish, you are ready for bed--hopefully not alone." This was Itier's second time at the event. His guest, producer Shani Hashaviah--who has a film, Welcome to Pine Hill, showing at Slamdance--was there for her first time.

Aside from the free-form creative explosion of tastes, that's one of the most exciting things about Chefdance. There are well over a dozen long, communal tables with guests whom--unless they are there together to celebrate a movie premiere (tonight: Compliance, The Pact and Middle of Nowhere)--seat with a wide-sweeping array of who knows who. I sat across from Nekeda Newell Hall, a creative consultant based out of L.A. Then there was producers Nora Grossman, who was working on selling her first film. Brian Quattrini and his wife rounded out the folks on my end; Quattrini produced Goats which is a Sundance Premiere this year.

The first course (pictured above), as labeled on the menu was: sea urchin ceviche roe gelato shisho cauliflower foam candied ginger caper salt. Sea Urchin ceviche is like the foie gras of fish, and this course was the most complimented throughout the evening.

The second course was black cod confit smoked banana grapefruit serrano smoked shrimp dust. The last ingredient was a new-found oddity for my culinary palate. The smoked banana and grapefruit accentuated the cod to perfection.

Sea Rocket's owner has making rounds before the next course. She asked, "Do you like experiential eating?" Well, it depends, does it involve a piece of lard covered in apple pop rocks? That is exactly what topped pork cheeks with mustard paint and diced brussel sprouts.

By the time the third course was making its rounds, it was obvious that Itier was exactly correct. The dessert was elivis PB pot de creme burnt banana pepper grape air brioche strussel. And that was a most excellent way to end a several-hour dinner.

Chefdance 2012 continues through Tuesday, Jan. 25. For more information, go here.

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