It was hard to grasp that it was Sunday. We’re all exhausted from cooking and/or baking our heads off on Saturday. (I couldn’t fathom how the chefs felt, who have to teach Sunday morning classes, after working on the busiest day of the week at their own kitchens.) We all made friends with other guests who attended this culinary weekend and made a connection with the chef with whom you’re a fan of his/her food. Even though it is now two days past the Culinary Experience weekend, I’m still recalling everything that’s happened – and they were all good memories.
I blame my low energy level, despite inhaling cups of Illy coffee that I ended up focusing on two classes with Paul Liebrandt, Chef/Owner of the 2* Michelin restaurant Corton in the morning and Angela Pinkerton, James Beard Award winner (2011), Executive pastry chef of 3* Michelin restaurant Eleven Madison Park to cap off this Culinary Experience weekend.
To those of you who are unfamiliar with Chef Liebrandt’s food, you may take a look at my dinner that took place last November. Liebrandt’s food, in my perspective, is very special by pushing the boundaries of flavors but keeping the integrity of each ingredient in each dish. It’s not the simply seductive, elegant food that certain restaurants serve. It’s sort of a thinking person’s food that would provoke you to think even though it all looks too beautiful to eat.
Knowing that Liebrandt is a culinary artist and technician, I was (and am still) intrigued as to how he would create some of the dishes at his restaurant. He does utilize the immersion circulators, food preservers, and certain enzyme powders and compounds for his dishes but it’s really meant to enhance and highlight the ingredients.
The first recipe he taught us was the slow cooked egg, asparagus veloute, Parmesan crumble, sorrel. The egg was poached in a immersion circulator at 62.8°C for 47 minutes. The white asparagus veloute was made with white asparagus (Austrian is preferred because it’s grown in soil than sand, therefore more tender asparagus) aigo boulido stock, milk, vanilla bean, chicken bouillon powder, extra virgin olive oil, xanthan gum and salt and pepper. The Parmesan crumble that was the base of the dish was made of Parmesan cheese, almond flour, confectioner’s (or powdered) sugar, brioche breadcrumbs, butter, potato starch, and tapioca maltodextrin. I tasted the Parmesan crumble prior to baking in the oven. It was relatively sweet and delicately nutty, rather than pungently salty with almond undertones that I would normally associate for Parmesan cheese.
I admit I made my own and it doesn’t look as beautiful as Paul’s plate, which you see above. However, it does taste amazing. Delicately sweet and nutty, creamy from the yolky poached egg, and the toasted Parmesan crumble added some textural crunch.
The other two dishes he cooked with us were Asparagus with toasted hazelnut, yuzu, Parmesan sabayon and Peekytoe Crab Salad with green mango, pickled daikon, toasted pistachio, pistachio with tarragon dressing.
This particular white asparagus dish was generally monochromatic with the exception of his toasted hazelnut powder. It was sublime with subtle hints of orange, yuzu, and toasted hazelnut with a certain “secret spice blend” which he won’t divulge. The tender yet firm white asparagus still gave the dish some structure to the CO2 Parmesan sabayon. The Peekytoe Crab Salad was divine. Subtly crunchy and sweet, tart, and nutty with a little punch of herbaceous flavors from the cilantro, red shiso leaf, and tarragon dressing.
When I left his class, it just reinforces my awe of Paul’s brilliant cooking. It’s very technical and artistic but that what really makes him stand out. If I were to attempt any of these recipes, I would have to devote my entire weekend cooking but I know I would be greatly rewarded from all of the efforts poured into each element of the dish.
Of the two lunch Q&A series, I’ve attended Gillan Duffy, Culinary Editor of New York Magazine and Susan Ungaro, President of James Beard Foundation talk. They’ve touched on topics about Ms. Ungaro’s past working experience as a magazine editor, how she ended up presiding over the Beard Foundation and how it grew over the years since she’s taken helm. Now is a busy time for the Beards Foundation since the Beard Awards are this Friday, May 4th (for the press and journalist awards; it’s a private event) and next Monday, May 7th (for restaurants and the gala) which are open to the public with admission.
Lunch was provided by Eli Zabar’s sandwiches and cookies. A light, simple but very enjoyable meal.
I was a fan of pastry chef Angela Pinkerton’s desserts for a long time. Even making a batch of her chocolate truffle ice cream (I made her black truffle and chocolate mignardes during Thanksgiving) from the Eleven Madison Park Cookbook it made me love her desserts even more. Pinkerton’s desserts have familiar flavors but have subtle savory elements, which you’ll see.
We ended up baking a batch of lemon poppy seed cake (which could be created into madelines if we were to refrigerate the cake batter overnight and bake them in madeline molds), lemon curd (that had to be toiled over a double boiler for 20 minutes but it’s really addictive), caramel (for the olive brittle), and frozen lemon yogurt.
What you see above is Angela’s plated dessert that we all got to eat at the end of class.
The plated dessert does showed lots of complexity even though the elements were relatively straightforward. The cake was broken down into two parts – thin slices to mimic tuile cookies and crumbled up as the crumbles for fluffy texture. The lemon curd brought a sharp, creamy, lemony highlight that brought the dessert together. The dehydrated olives were coated in caramel then ground into a powder. The frozen lemon yogurt was the cold element to give a little shock of surprise to the palate. It blew everyone’s minds. Even Ms. Gillian Duffy walked in toward the final minutes to observed and she was astounded how great this dessert was. This class was fun and I have tried a different technique of making caramel (dry rather than wet).
During the Champagne reception, it’s capped off with tasty small plates of food by Tolani and Paul Goerg Blanc de Blancs. Gillian Duffy and Dorothy Cann Hamilton picked the winner of this year’s raffle to a 3* Michelin in south of France.
I can’t wait until next year! Supposedly, there’s a rumor that they’ll do it on James Beard weekend… I think that would be a doozy but nevertheless exciting for those who aren’t from New York City and experience the gala once.
To view more photos of this fantastic event, please click through the slideshow (or view my Flickr set):
To read about Day 1′s Culinary Experience, please CLICK HERE. If you’d like to see the recipes from Chef Paul Liebrandt or Angela Pinkerton’s class, please comment with your e-mail address or just e-mail me (wanderingeater [at] gmail [dot] com) with the subject line of which chef’s recipes you’d like to have.
New York Culinary Experience 2012 at The International Culinary Center, co-hosted by New York Magazine
Event’s Website: http://nyce.nymag.com/
The International Culinary Center’s website: http://www.internationalculinarycenter.com
New York, NY 10013