Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chef Brian Roland Wows American Culinary Federation

I just dined at M Waterfront Grille, and the quality gets better and better. Somedays I go for drinks, or sit by the bay, watching sunset's pastel palette paint the building.

Tonight, Exec Chef Brian Roland had a tough crowd to please, some 40 chefs and others in the restaurant biz, as he hosted the Amercan Culinary Federation'(ACF) Caxambas Chapter of Naples And Marco Island's installation of new officers.
Chef Ralph Feraco (ex-Pres), Chef Chris Jones (Pres), Linda Furrie (Sec), Ron Landry (Treas)
Able ACF President and Naples Sailing and Yacht Club Executive Chef Ralph Feraco turned over the knife and whisk to incoming President Chris Jones, Executive Chef of The Old Collier Golf Club. Take a bow Ralph, you did a yeoman's work over your term. Chris steps right up to the plate, swinging, with months of activities already planned out. He's the only person I know who has a Thermomix (maybe a pacojet too.) Most of the top chefs in Collier County are members of the ACF.

The chefs volunteer many hour teaching high school and vocational students the ropes. They assist students with thousands of dollars of scholarships. Chefs and students. All work hard. The hours can be brutal, and the rewards many. Co-hosting the evening and making detailed presentations were Atlanta's superb Halperns Steak and Seafood, (Photos below.)
Monster U10 Dry Scallops
Salmon- What a clear-eyed Beauty!
Red Snapper
Fort Myers' highly sought after Denise Muir of Rabbit Run,
Rabbit Run's Hydroponic ProduceJimmy Valentine and William Mattrey of The Fresh Garden Produce explained Rabbit Run's amazing produce. Sysco was represented by New Orlean's raised Ralph, and photographer Lisa. Other key purveyors in the food and beverage business attended. Chefs and suppliers, sharing "secrets", teaching and learning through lectures and demonstrations, inspire each other to stay up to date and improve. You, the consumer or diner, directly benefit. To keep you dining out these days, prices have to please, and quality continue to improve. That's the challenge suppliers and chefs face today.

With 40 hungry and critical top chefs, the heat was on for Chef Brian Roland. Brian whet their appetites with passed appetizers- crisp fried goat cheese balls, and other baked treats.
Chefs Ralph Feraco, Brian Roland, Chris Jones Then Brian brought out the big guns. He slow cooked a whole pig. A heavenly mahogany delight, presented whole, then sliced and served with crisp skin- tender to the bone. Kaboom! I've had a similar treat, puerco asado, marinated in bitter orange juice and garlic, slow cooked by Cuban friends for 6-8 hours, while it bakes in a backyard pit.

His seared U10 scallops were so big- 5 or 6 weigh a pound. They were ocean fresh, sensually light, and beautifully "caramelized". (Technically, this particular browning may neither be caramelization nor purely the Maillard reaction. The jury's still out.)Atlanta's Halpern's Steak and Seafood brought them. They were over the top. Bam! Other delights were fresh organic squash, beans, eggplants herbs etc from nearby Fort Myers as The Fresh Garden, supplies Denise's Muir's coveted Rabbit Run Farm hydroponic produce. Her organic things are bursting with rich flavor. It doesn't get better than this. The chefs, friends and competitors, loved the selections, and congratulated him.

He also served wonderful grilled tenderloin, and sides, such as a Swiss chard creation, poached shrimp with citrus-opal basil sauce, and organic local watermelon salad. Chef Roland earned his peers' and competitors' respect.

Fort Myers Cru's loss has been Naples' wonderful gain.

Brian's insistence on freshness, organics, and seeking out local suppliers opened quite a few other chef's eyes and palates. I'm excited. The chefs instantly "got" the enhanced quality of Rabbit Run's hydroponics. This raises Naples standard, and perhaps others in SW Fla will join Brian and the other ACF members in raising the area's bar for quality. The ball is now in the court of Naples' "steak and potatoes" Midwesterner snowbirds. This past season, they have supported Brian's innovations with their wallets and repeat business. What's good for the customers is good for suppliers as well. It can be win -win in paradise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have had the honor to work side by side Chef Brian Rolland and I must say that he , by far has a talent that our modern culinary world has waited for, for a long time now. Chef Rolland is a great Chef, Mentor, Business Person and Friend.

Chef Keven Lee
Corp Executive Chef
The Syndicate Hospitality
Hollywood, CA