Friday, March 25, 2011

Emerging Chefs ThEATrical Event

Those of us that attended last night's Emerging Chefs dinner at the 14th Street Theater didn't quite experience what we had thought was in store for us. The event turned into something different, something so much more...and I still sit here in amazement and quite humbled the next morning.

The film-inspired muti-course meal was the brainchild of Chef Adam Bostwick from Melange. He has been planning for months- selecting the movies and clips to base the courses on, preparing the menu, and gearing up for what promised to be a great culinary event highlighting his talent and creativity in the kitchen. Sadly, Adam's family experienced a great loss within just 24 hours of the event. This is where the event turned from not just a wonderful meal, but a display of camaraderie and brotherhood that proves to us all how truly amazing our area's chefs are- both in and out of the kitchen.

Chefs Matt Creighton, Jeff Jarrett, Brian Okin, Brian Doyle, Chris Quinn, Kimberly McCune, and Chris McCarthy all stepped forward and said, "I will do this for Adam." Co-Executive Chef at Melange, Matt Creighton, rose to the occasion and played the role of executive chef for the event. He privately told me that he had just seen the menu for the first time at 11:00 a.m. that morning, but you never would have known! These chefs put aside their personal lives, many left their own restaurant's kitchens for the night, and all gathered to put out a very memorable meal and one that certainly would have made Chef Adam proud.

So let's get into the food. The first course, or "The Preview" was based on the movie 9 1/2 Weeks and the famous refrigerator scene. It featured a Hard Boiled Egg, Tuna and Strawberry Tartar, and Kalamata Olive. The drink was a Strawberry Jalapeno Shooter.The dish was light with clean flavors, and a nice fresh start to the meal. The champagne-based drink didn't have quite the jalapeno kick that I had hoped for. Now we moved on to the Feature Presentations. The first dish was Cleveland Shrimp Gumbo, Shrimp Pierogi, and Crisp Fried Shrimp, inspired by the well-known Forrest Gump movie.The dish had great texture, and was a fun play on Bubba's lengthy list of ways to prepare shrimp, but it could have used a little salt in my opinion. The cocktail was an Adult Doctor Pepper, which several diners identified as their favorite drink of the evening. As you can see below, with each course we got to watch the movie clip that influenced each dish/cocktail combination. It gave us insight into Chef Adam's thought process, and it was just plain fun. It already motivated me to add some flicks to my Netflix list.
Next up was The Social Network/Meet Joe Black- featuring Chicken Stuffed Chicken, Thai Peanut Butter Sauce, and Peanut Salad served with a Stella Artois with a Salted Peanut Rim.I enjoyed this dish when all of the components were paired together in one bite. But I am always a sucker for Thai and peanut flavors. At this point, the event then took an "Intermission" and served us a cocktail interpretation of Sour Patch Kids. This was my personal favorite drink of the night! Then we moved on to the "Royale' With Cheese" Short Rib Pave with Tomato and Kornichon Bruschetta, Crispy Onion, Ketchup Broth, Aged Cheddar, and "Big Kahuna Fries". This course was a reflection of the movie Pulp Fiction, and was paired with a "8 Dollar Milk Shake". It was my favorite dish, giving guests "the sensation of biting into a cheeseburger," as Chef Adam calls it. As usual, the meat was tender and prepared well. These guys at Melange certainly know how to slow cook something to perfection!The last course, dessert course, was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The dish was a Blueberry Panna Cotta with Gobstopper Brittle. This white-chocolate brittle was the highlight of the whole night for me. It took me by surprise since I don't usually like white chocolate, and the combination of sweet and sour flavors won me over. Hey Melange- find a way to work this into your regular menu! Served with the course was our own personal Fizzy Lifting Drink, and it was a close second to my favorite drink of the evening.Phew, that was a long post but I couldn't stand to leave anything out. All of the food and drink were memorable, but the true star(s) of the evening were the chefs and their dedication to quickly help a friend in need. I think it left all of us feeling good about our community, and the delicious cannoli that was given to us as we left didn't hurt either!Cheers to all of the chefs that stepped forward last night, and I know that I can speak for everyone when I say that our thoughts are with Chef Adam and his family. But this event clearly left me wanting more, and I already can't wait to go back for another Emerging Chefs event. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for updates, and learn more about the group on their website linked above.


Unknown said...

Looks like it was a great time with great food. I love how the other chefs came together for Adam too. Really sad I missed it but plan on going to the April one! Great recap (EC posts usually are longer since you don't want to leave anything out!)

Melisa said...

I'm so glad Adam has such special friends that stood in for him and made the night a success in his honor. His dad is my father's cousin. We lost a very dear, special and kind man. We're very proud of Adam. Bless you all.

mary said...

What a great tribute to Adam that is brother-in-law and friends pitched in on such short notice to make this such a wonderful event. Adam's dad was so very proud of him.

CLEgal @ Why CLE? said...

Sounds like a great night! Excited to finally check out an Emerging Chefs event in April.

Brad of Cleveland Food and Brews said...

Last nights event was so fun! It really was something special to see the chefs step up for a fellow chef in need. Great write up! Hope to see you at the next event.

Alicia from Poise in Parma said...

Thanks for the great recap and the clarification of just what that dessert course was! The five of us at our table were stumped on that Wonka Bar!

After this meal, I definitely plan to check out Melange. Hope to see you at the next EC event!