Winter Wine Festival Trustees Terry and Bob Edwards and Judith Liegeois and John Scot Mueller hosted an elegant Vintner Dinner at the Edwards modern home.
|Terry and Bob Edwards, John Scot Mueller and Judith Liegeois|
|Executive Chef Lee Hefter|
“Artists in Residence” was the evening’s theme. The Edwards, passionate about painting and sculpture, have unique pieces ranging from six to perhaps 3o feet tall. Their collection covers the gamut of modern art. The Staglins, also passionate art collectors, readily identified the sculptors of quite a few of the Edwards collection.
This was the Edwards’ first year as trustees and first time hosting a dinner. Bob Edwards said, “Your eyes will well up when you meet these kids and your hear their stories...The key is watching all these people come together to make something really change.” The Edwards upped the auction ante; they donated their beloved bright red fully restored 1956 Chevrolet Corvette.
Earlier, I asked Chef Hefter what comfort food he cooked at home, and he replied “pasta.” Italian chestnut “Agnolotti” pasta with shaved French black truffles was the second course, and the guests raved about the sauce’s heavenly flavors. When every plate came back, not a drop of sauce remained. You can bet his pasta at home doesn’t taste like ours! If he bottled his pasta sauces-I’d buy the first caseload.
Third course featured roasted rack of organic veal and its “Marrow custard” served in trimmed bones for an unusual presentation. It was accompanied by a parsnip puree, black trumpet mushrooms, baby carrots with a Sauce Perigourdine, reflecting Chef Heftner’s experiences while in France’s finest restaurants. The sauce is a sublime marriage of demi-glace, foie gras, Madeira wine and truffles.
One guest said of the veal, “Tender is not the word, you could cut this with a glance!”
The trio of musicians played a spirited medley of favorites on acoustic guitar, drums and flute.
Meanwhile, a duet of American Wagyu beef and Angus “Kobe Style” beef was accompanied by cippolini mushrooms, baby turnips, salsify and a wasabi-shiso Hollandaise. On the left of the plate are slow cooked short ribs paired with a hearty rutabaga puree and Armagnac-yuzu sauce.
During the meal, guests visited the kitchen to see a professional chef and top sous chefs make a gourmet meal’s preparation almost look doable for a home cook.
Dessert followed the hosts’ words from the heart, encouraging guests to be ardent bidders the next day. Their words were heeded. Individual Earl Grey “Baked Alaska” with white chocolate-buttermilk cake was paired on the plate with melting chocolate truffle cake, enhanced with a Tahitian vanilla crème anglaise and salted caramel ice cream.
The hour was getting late, and I wondered if the three musicians from Fort Pierce would drive home or stay at a local hotel. Via a chance conversation, they mentioned that the Edwards had prepared beds for them in their home. That’s genuine kindness and thoughtfulness.