Monday, February 28, 2011

Salvation through Food

As I sat in church yesterday morning, I knew I had to say a few extra prayers of repentance.  I didn't lie, cheat, or steal.  There was no killing, adultery, or pride on my end this past week either.  However, there was gluttony and maybe a slight bit of envy.  Last Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend my second Emerging Chefs event, Sacrilicious, which featured the praise worthy creations of Chef Jeff Fisher of Touch Supper Club.  Their fourth event really lived up to the motto of Emerging Chefs, "Big Flavor.  Bold Venues" since we gathered together in an old Russian Orthodox church in the Gordon Square Arts District.  Some of the pews were converted into tables, while others were set up in a way that reminded me of a church dinner, such as a Lenten fish fry.  All of the dishes were inspired by the Bible or other religious rituals and beliefs.

Upon finding our seats, we were soon asked to line up and receive Chef Fisher's interpretation of Communion.  This was nothing like the Communion wafers I was used to.  This one was crispy, with one half featuring a kumquat jam and the other, a chicken liver pate.  I only wish I did not eat each half separately.  The jam was very sweet and fruity which would have been a nice compliment to the slight saltiness and savoriness of the pate.  We also has a small cup of wine.  With our souls "cleansed" and our palates awakened, we were now ready to share in the five course feast awaiting us.

Our first course was a hot tomato water with mini gnocci, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a poached quail egg.  To accompany this course, was the El Diablo Ketchup Martini.  We were told this course was representative of Genesis, since the Pilgrims believed the tomato to be the fruit of the devil.  The egg, as Chef Fisher explained was a take on the question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"  Overall, this pairing was perfect.  The flavors of the tomato water and egg were really brought out by the tomato from the martini.  Chef Fisher, if you are reading this, PLEASE add the martini to the drink list at Touch.  The martini may have been on favorite drink of the night.  Think Bloody Mary on the level of saintliness.  Maybe it is due to the fact it was made from Touch's house ketchup.

Our next course was Chef Fisher's interpretation of the Last Supper.  It was a St. Germain cured salmon tartar with a squid ink tweil, savory lemon curd, carmelized sweet Maui onions, and creme fraiche.  Chef Fisher said this is what he would make for his last meal on Earth, and I would have to agree with him.  It was my favorite dish of the night.  Any time citrus in incorporated into a seafood dish, I am won over.  The subtle sweetness of the lemon curd brought out the natural flavors of the salmon while the creme fraiche added a gentile cool finish.  I am not the biggest onion fan, however in this dish, the onion was not overpowering and blended well with the other elements of this course.  The drink paring for this course was a St. Germain Lime Soda.  This drink would be perfect on a summer day since it was cool and refreshing.

Our third course was Chef Fisher's culinary take on the Lamb of God, that being a lamb carpaccio, tempura battered egg yolk, crispy fennel and shallots, parmesan cheese and truffle oil.  For not being a big lamb person, I will admit, I enjoyed the carpaccio.  It was sliced very thinly and the crispy fennel and shallots went well with it.  My favorite part of this dish was the tempura battered egg yolk.  Once I broke it open, the yolk helped bring all of the elements of the plate together.  However, there was one part of this course I did not enjoy, the drink.  The Cather in the Rye cocktail, while visually appealing, may have been my punishment for overindulgence.  Or maybe it was the fact it was a bourbon based cocktail and I do not like bourbon.   
The fourth course was all about forbidden fruits.  We were served Asian braised pork belly with forbidden rice and blood orange star anise sauce, with a five spice cotton candy.  My personal interpretation of the pork belly relates to the strict Kosher diet many Orthodox Jews follow which does not allow pork.  I also found the plating of this dish Chef Fisher's interpretation of the Crucifixion, with the spiced cotton candy being the storm clouds which covered the sky.  Our drink pairing was called the Grapes of Wrath which was a vodka/saki cocktail with grape infusion.  Maybe this was a take on the hyssop wine the soldiers gave to Jesus while hanging on the cross (or maybe my 13+ years of Catholic school are getting the best of me).  Overall, my favorite part of this dish was the rice and sauce.  While the pork was tender and well flavored, it just wasn't the star for me. 

Finally, the dessert course which was beet foam with angel food cake, devils food cake, passion fruit coulis, with raspberry teardrops.  The inspiration for this dish is final judgement.  The earthiness of the beets represents the earth, in which our physical bodies will return to.  The angel food and devils food cake symbolize Heaven and Hell.  The passion fruit and teardrops were delicious reminders of a life filled with passion, love, and the struggle to do what is right.  On the side we enjoyed two Rights of Passage cocktails, a warm, sweet brandy and a cold Grappa with limoncello.  

Overall, the whole night was everything you would expect from an Emerging Chefs event.  Wonderful food in a unique atmosphere.  I also had the pleasure of sharing this uplifting experience with some of my favorite fellow bloggers Brad and Alicia.  I also finally met Journeyman Cook and his lovely wife The Brewer's Daughter as well as a Laura whom I just started following.  It was also nice to meet one of my "tweeps" Joe.  Hopefully, I will be able to attend the next movie insprired Emerging Chefs event in March.  By the end of my prayers yesterday morning, the prayers for repentance turned to prayers of thanks for an evening of great food in good company. 

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!     


  1. Sounds amazing! I know I was lusting after the twit pics y'all were posting that night.

  2. Great write up! Can't wait until the next event! Hope we both are at the same table again!

  3. Looks like fun! I really want to get to the next one- films should be an interesting twist and I love Adam B. from Melange. One of my favorite chefs.

    - Katrina (Bite Buff)