Spice Route Truffles
Food lovers around the world were saddened by the publication of the final issue of Gourmet magazine this month. My friend and JW faithful, Lisa Rose Starner, came up with the idea of hosting a tribute dinner for Gourmet magazine as a culinary ode to the gourmand's bible for more than a half century. The twist, however, is that this meal was going to be created by foodie cooks who are fans of Gourmet and not by professional culinarians (though the JW culinary team helped a lot!)
So Lisa and I recruited several friends: Margaux Drake, interior designer and founder of The Giving Gardens; Wesley MacAllister, engineer and master saucier; Tommy Allen, lifestyle editor for Rapid Growth Media; and Pat Colander, editor of Shore Magazine. With assistance from Chef Andrew Voss, Joel Wabeke, Lindsey Vandentoorn and their kitchen brigade, our team embarked on a three week journey of scanning past issues of Gourmet, numerous email, phone and text exchanges, team lunches before honing in on our dinner theme of "The Spice Route."
Ginger "Bang Bang" Cocktail
Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Shaved Beets and Bitter Greens Salad
Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette
Moroccan Lamb "Tagine"
Cous Cous, Cranberry-Orange Relish, Mint-Cilantro Chutney
Spice Route Truffles
Wyncroft Chardonnay, 2005
Chateau Musar, 2000
We invited fifty of our closest friends and family to six one six restaurant to share in the festive evening of fantastic wines, flavorful food, colorful discussions, and best of all, the pleasure of everyone's company. Through the years, Gourmet magazine brought many people together through her imaginative pages of recipes, travel destinations and global food explorations. We couldn't think of a better way to pay tribute to the joys Gourmet brought to our lives than by sharing our evening with those closest to us.
The Foodie Chefs - George Aquino, Margaux Drake, Lisa Rose Starner, Tommy Allen, Pat Colander and Wesley MacAllister
Chef Andrew's Amuse Bouche
Squash before roasting
Wes mixing the soup in the giant pot
Lisa waits her turn to place the squash in the oven
At our team briefing before dinner service
Have you ever seen "Chefs" this happy before dinner?
Lisa plating the beet salad
Margaux single-handedly made the exotic truffles for the evening
Pat sets the truffles in the cart
Chef Andrew adding his special touches to the lamb
Spice Merchants in East Grand Rapids gladly donated the spice favors to all guests
Eleanor Drake handing out the favors in her sari
Dinner guests Jimmy Le, Jennifer Rentschler and Michael Pfleghaar
Nothing like a good laugh with the team when everyone has left