|Fly on the Wall: Behind the Scenes at Our 2009 Seattle Honorees Dinner
By Amanda McDougall and Elyse Viner
The scene: the sun-lit dining room of Campagne restaurant in downtown Seattle.
The crowd: the Emerald City's top culinary talent.
The expletive: "Suck it, New York!"
Not your typical dinner conversation to be sure, but this wasn't your typical restaurant crowd either. Actually, those who are usually behind the stoves in Seattle's best restaurants, the 2009 Seattle Rising Stars and their mentors, had the rare opportunity to sit at the table for the StarChefs.com Seattle Rising Stars Honorees Dinner.
Perhaps a few uncouth words slipped out over chef Daisley Gordon's first course tete de veau. Maybe mixologist Jamie Boudreau got a little over exuberant in his love for the Seattle culinary scene and shouted that infamous phrase "suck it, New York!" (The exquisite bubbles in Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or 1998, served at the reception, have been known to go straight to one's head; similarly one glass of Hoegaarden, which was paired with the headcheese, can make one feel pretty daring.)
As expected, the table talk amongst the chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists didn't turn to more polite subjects—we're talking chefs here, after all. Animal butchery, internal organs, and sous vide were discussed at length at one table, while which boutique gin reigns supreme was the topic of a conversation at another table. But that didn't distract from Chef Gordon's second course of Steamed Wild Alaskan Cod with Confit Tomato and Citrus Fumet. StarChefs.com Editor-in-Chief Antoinette Bruno got Gordon talking about his inspiration for his confit tomatoes that capped the cod; check out our video-enhanced Technique feature on these very tomatoes.
A little chef communing also took place; new friends were made and old friends reunited. Daisley Gordon was seen hugging one of the Rising Stars sponsors, Ray Williams President of Jade—chefs can get overly excited about new kitchen equipment. And chefs Chris Young and Peter Coyne, who worked with each other at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck years ago (and are the mentors of pastry chef Dana Cree and chef Colin Patterson respectively) were unexpectedly reunited at the dinner.
A braised lamb shoulder with mascarpone risotto and some say one too many glasses of Dunham Syrah later, Campagne pastry chef Angela O’Rourke served her Baba Rhum cake, and promptly doused it with four—yes, four—shots of rum.
You might call it an evening of gluttony and hedonism, but we call it our Rising Stars Honorees Dinner. Check out our photo gallery (below) for snap shots of the evening.
Daisley Gordon, Executive Chef, Campagne
Daisley Gordon, Executive Chef at Campagne in Seattle, talks about how he got into cooking after studying Religious Studies, and how he stays inspired in the kitchen.
Heather Sperling: How did you get into cooking?
Daisley Gordon: I graduated culinary school in 94, but had worked a few years – I was a career changer. I had a degree in religious studies and speech communication. Well, I guess I hadn’t really had a career…I had sold some yellow pages advertizing and got canned because I was horrible at it. My boss told me I should find something to do that I liked. I had always loved food, so I did extensive research on culinary schools and decided on CIA, Hyde Park.
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