Monday, November 06, 2006

Chefs (11) cook up a storm at Swenson Benefit/Wiedmaier(of Marcel's) WOWS us!

Last night was one of the most exciting evening that Washington can offer up for foodies. The benefit arranged for the PHILLIP NATHANIEL SWENSON Foundation was chock full of chefs cooking at burners for each individual table, and we were lucky enough to be seated at the table where Chef ROBERT WIEDMAIER of Marcel's presided.

Host Sue Palka of local Fox News roamed the room with a mike to chat with diners and each chef so we all knew what was going on at each table. We drooled as we listened to all the menus, but we were thrilled with our menu as well. All of the generous chefs (listed below) not only cooked and served, but then auctioned themselves off to make thousands of extra dollars for the fund which keeps Phillip's education and treatment for autism continuing. On a personal note, it was even more satisfying since our son SAMUEL often has playdates with Phillip and we, as friends, can see his development and improvement. Just last week, he constructed his first sentence, "Mommy, I need you!" which had us all in tears. In the future the Foundation will have additional events and I can't urge you all enough to support this important cause.

Back to dinner which started with an amuse of CHESTNUT SOUP with Shallots & Foie Gras & Black Truffle Essence. We all sucked strongly on the straws in the shot glasses of superb creamy rich soup-my favorite kind on earth!

The fish course was a beautiful pink PAN SEARED ALASKAN KING SALMON on a GRUYERE Cheese POTATO CAKE with a POACHED QUAIL EGG & CAVIAR carefully poised on top all sitting in a SABAYON Sauce. It was simply delicious and paired to perfection with a CHATEAU GRAVILLE LACOSTE 2004 Graves from Bordeaux.

The meal continued as we eagerly watch Chef Robert sear the meat and as smoke bellowed from the pans (I was actually worried about the fire alarms!) and he prepared the ROASTED LOIN of VENISON with CONFIT of BRUSSEL SPROUTS in a SHALLOT CABERNET SAUCE. The rare meat was tender, the sauce to die for, the fried leeks on top a treat and the confit with caramelized shallots as well was perhaps one of the best veggies around! Paired with a superb 2003 GIGONDAS from Domaine Le Roucas de St. Pierre, there was not a soul at our table that was not in heaven.

A Trio of Cheeses finished off our meal at the table (Pipe Dreams Goat Cheese with Roasted Beets & Squash Syrup, Le Bois Blond with Caramelized Pears, and Epoisse with Sauteed Squash) and this was one of the most fun cheese creations to boot as we watched the intricate assembly of each plate.

After the auction we proceeded to the dessert room (where we had started the evening with wine/champagne and tons of hor's d'oevres as well) where we were shocked to see dozens of cakes and pastries at the buffet. I tasted one or two, but resisted for the most part!

Thanks to all the chefs and attendees as well!

Jeff Buben (Vidalia/Bistro Bis)
Katsuya Fukushima (Cafe Atlantico)
Todd Gray (Equinox/Market Salamander)
Greggory Hill (David Greggory)
Ris Lacoste (keep your eyes open in 2007 for her new location)
Enzo Livia (Spezie/Ill Pizzico)
Matt Morrison(The Grill-Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City)
Kaz Okochi (Kaz Sushi Bistro)
Bryan Voltaggio (Charlie Palmer Steak)
Santi Zabaleta (Taberna del Alabardero)
Jim Swenson (The National Press Club)