Killed by Dessert - a sugar lover's dream...
This exclusive dinner was served to the first 80 individuals who purchased tickets in support of Share our Strength's No Hungry Kid Campaign and featured some of America's top Pastry Chefs: Lincoln Carson, Bill Corbett, Brooks Headley, Michael Laiskonis, Michael Recchiuti, Matt Tinder, Christina Tosi and William Werner. Needless to say, the tickets sold out quickly.
The evening started out with a reception featuring canapés made by the featured Pastry Chefs, wine and Campari cocktails. My favorite was the Cubano Croissants!!!
Top Left (clockwise): Asparagus in a Lemon Black Pepper Chocolate Shell (Recchiuti), Cubano Croissant - Roasted Pork, Pickle Puff Pastry, Mustard (Tosi), Smoked Sturgeon, Avocado, Seeds & Sprouts (Tinder), Artichoke Confit, Black Garlic Puree, Zimbro, Preserved Lemon (Corbett), Bacon & Egg (Carson), Duck Confit Tart, English Peas, Cauliflower, Cocoa (Laiskonis), Croissant, Foie, Nutella (Werner)
Had a great time hanging out with new and old friends (Joana's behind the camera!) and playing with the Fun Spinner!
Finally, it was time to sit down for the meal of a lifetime... we were definitely in for a treat! The dinner started on a lighter note and progressed to the richness of chocolate desserts toward the end. My favorites were the Whipped Coconut, the much needed savory Veggie Burger (I wanted more!) and both of Michael Laiskonis' desserts.
Strawberries and Stracciatella
Whipped Coconut, Olive Oil, Rhubarb, Orange, Borage
"An Old Dog" - Cornbread, Apricot, Mulberry & Vanilla
"May 12, 1936 - in Memory of M. Maillard"
Strawberry Sorbet, Celery Root Ganache, Ritz Cracker Crunch
Goat Cheesecake, Candied Kumquats, Candy Cap Puff Pastry Shards, Cajeta
Intermezzo: Veggie Bruger
Cereal Milk Panna Cotta, Avocado Puree, Chocolate Hazelnut Thing
Butterscotch Semifreddo Tony Style
Blueberries, Silken Milk Chocolate, Baguette, Cocoa Praline
"A New Trick" Douglas Fir, Chocolate, Pine Cone
Antonio Bazzarini's Theoretic-Practical Plan
German Chocolate Cake, Vegan - Coconut, Pecan, Caramel, Chocolate Cake served with Chocolate Beer
Mignardises by Michael Recchiuti & William Werner
You may have noticed Laiskonis' dessert descriptions, or lack there of. The back story and the extensive thought process behind each one made the desserts all the more impressive. Here's a little more detail for inquisitive minds:
"May 12, 1936 - in Memory of M. Maillard"
- In 1912, French Chemist Louis-Camille Maillard wrote a paper outlining the
a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar usualy requiring heat. The result is nonenzymatic browning, or to the most of us, caramelization. Caramelization is of course very important to anyone in the food industry, especially a Pastry Chef. Who would want an underbaked an pale croissant if they had a golden brown and delicious one to choose from instead?
Maillard passed away May 12, 1936 and by chance Killed by Dessert SF was held on May 12, 2013. Laiskonis' first dessert featured components highlighting the Maillard Reaction, one example being the usage of caramelized white chocolate.
"Antonio Bazzarini's Theoretic-Practical Plan"
- To be honest, I found very little information about Antonio Bazzarini on the internet. However, from Chef Laiskonis' description, after the Italian Renaissance, there was a shortage of chocolate and coffee in Italy. Bazzarini's Theoretic-Practical Plan was a pamphlet entitled
Substitution Plan for Chocolate and Coffee.
It explained how to strech chocolate by mixing it with nuts. Those of you familiar with Italian desserts should be very familiar with
the slightly sweetened mixture of Chocolate and Hazelnut Paste. Or if you're not, how about the all-popular Nutella?! Laiskonis' dessert featured gianduja highlighted with citrus notes.
Just a few of the night's libations - including a delicious Chocolate Beer and Yamazaki 18 over a hand-chipped sphere of ice
The event combined with the previous day's bake sale raised an estimated $20,000 - all the fun was for a good cause after all! Although this is a once in a lifetime type a meal and I was in a near sugar coma toward the end, I'm tempted to attend the next one. Yes, I've heard from a reliable source where the next one will most likely be held.
I leave you with some great action shots taken by my friend Joana - Chef's hunched over their workspace of course!