I recently attended a beautiful, fun, playful dinner with Chef Gabe Kennedy in his home, hosted by Vins De Bordeaux. The hosts, the wines, the food, and the company were so special. The pictures tell the whole story.
Chef Gabe Kennedy, executive chef at The Little Beet, world traveler, and environmental advocate loves to connect people, food and culture. He aims to inspires people to explore the kitchen, their senses, and discover the joys of cooking.
Originally from Boulder, Colorado, he started his culinary journey at a young age in Boulder. By the time he was eighteen he was perfecting his culinary skills with David Bouley at Bouley in Tribeca. He has since gone on to work at Eleven Madison Park, Cru and Blue Hill at Stone Barnes. Chef Gabe also is private chef to professional athletes, celebrities, and dignitaries, including the Clinton family. He graduated from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and then went on to graduate first in class at the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Gabe recently won ABC’s primetime show “The Taste” where he was recognized as America’s best undiscovered cook.
Chef Gabe created a seafood focused dinner for us paired with Bordeaux Wines. Jeff Harding, Wine Director at The Waverly Inn had curated a perfect pairing of Bordeaux wines with each course. We started the evening with a sparkling aperitif of Crémant de Bordeaux by Patrick Boudon. Made with 100% Semillon, the wine was fresh and lively and a perfect way to begin an elegant evening.
Chef Gabe kicked off the evening saying we were exploring Bordeaux via seafood. The first course was sea scallops served in their own shell picked fresh that morning. Prepared and dressed with yuzu kosho, nashi pear, shallots and a whole lot of love. The wine that was paired with the scallops was Chateau Nicot Rosé from Entre Deux Mers. The wine paired beautifully with the scallops as the wine had a lot of flesh and body. This rosé was a food friendly wine as it had meat and texture to it.
The second course was roasted maitake, with salsa verde and hazelnuts. The mushrooms were served with a natural aromatic jus of maitake, infused with lemongrass, kaffir lime and coffee beans. The jus was cleverly presented in a small pint sized chemistry flask that was meant to be poured over the mushrooms. Very poetically Chef Gabe said, “I was inspired to present the jus in a flask cause as much as wine and food are an art, winemaking is also a science. When I was in Bordeaux the science of wine blew my mind, so this dish is an ode to Bordeaux.”
The maitake was paired with a Bordeaux Blanc by S de Suduiraut. Many Bordeaux Blancs are Sauvignon Blanc based similar to Sancerre, but this one is more textural with made with Semillon and just a touch of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is from the esteemed Chateau Suduiraut (famous for its Sauternes). The wine had a rich, supple texture with a hint of waxiness and savoriness and elegant fruit on the back end. It was a perfect compliment to the maitake mushrooms.
The highlight of the evening was the paella. We were all presented with a paint palette and brush to paint our dishes with added flavors and sauces. Chef Gabe described the the evolution with paella. You start with the lighter things on top, and then move through the paella and dig deeper to the crusty bottom, which is a rich, sticky, gooey, crispy rice versus the lighter fresh more acidic seafood on top. Just as you move through wines from light to more full bodied, you move through the Paella from light to richness. The paella was prepared with a a sofrito base with charred onions and tomatoes which gives it a wonderfully smokey flavor. Then the rice is toasted and prepared with a a potent stock of shrimp shells, mushrooms and onions. This was the best Paella I have ever had.
The Paella was paired with a 2013 La Croix Bonis from Saint Estephe. Intimately linked to Château Phélan Ségur, La Croix Bonis comes from selected parcels at the property, made primarily from Merlot. La Croix Bonis is a fleshy, supple wine, very fruity with well-integrated tannins.
For dessert we had apple tarte tartin, A a simple but elegant dessert. As Chef Gabe describes, it is elegant cause it exemplifies restraint, not much goes into it. It is through time and heat that it transports into a beautiful dish. The dessert was paired with Castel Sud de Suduiraut. This sweet wine is meant to drink young and fresh. Flavors of stone fruit and honeysuckle in the wine paired deliciously with the apple tarte tartin.
As the evening evolved we quickly found that you can pair Bordeaux wines with almost everything. All the Bordeaux wines presented tonight were reasonably priced and wonderful to drink everyday. A special round of applause to Chef Gabe and my friends at Vins de Bordeaux. Thank you for a wonderful evening. Sante!!