|Chefs Mary Shipman, Brian Roland, and Isabel Pozo Polo|
Whether the evening was characterized by the “Battle of the Sexes” or “vive la différence” is up for grabs, however the three not-shy chefs were all hugs and high fives as the evening progressed! Much like a duck going quickly across water, the chefs’ calm demeanor to diners probably did not reflect any furious duck-paddling in the kitchen needed to get six courses out to 70 diners in a timely manner!
The chefs described each food course before serving. At the next dinner, each paired wine could also be expounded upon.
Chefs Isabel and Mary led with Fois gras milkshake shooters on one side of the plate-unlike anything you’ve ever had at DQ or your favorite soda shop.
|IM Taps Foie Gras Milkshake; M Waterfront's Foie Gras Demisphere with Port Wine Gelée|
Chef Brian rose to their challenge-his side of the plate was graced with a picture perfect foie gras demi sphere, served atop a Port wine gelée with sautéed apple espuma (foam), crumbled hazelnut dust and topped with tangy micro basil.
One of the best parts of wine dinners is meeting new friends-foodies. I was so fortunate to meet David and Kate Albers, two food lovers who honeymooned in Paris-how much more romantic can a couple be? Jim Greely of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable wine mavens I’ve met. He has a down to earth way of sharing a complex subject in a way that left us eager for him to come teach a wine education class at one of Naples ABC stores.
|Jim, Chef Brian, Kate and David|
Chef Brian fired a broadside (pun intended) at the dynamic duo of Isabel and Mary with a brilliantly named trio called, “Duck, Duck, Goose! “Ménage à Foie.”
In the center of the plate, the duck prosciutto-wrapped summer asparagus’s taste was further heightened by Ermitage Triple Cream cheese, quince jam, and a drizzle of foie-Champagne vinegar vinaigrette. OMG!! The accompanying crisp, fruity Ladera Sagrada Castelo do Papa Godello, Valdeorras, Spain ’10 was a superb match for this foie trio. (Valdeorras means “Valley of Gold.”) It’s hard to match wine for asparagus. This golden Galician Godello grape gem from Spain’s northwest corner has Viognier –type floral and citrus accents, and retails for under $18. ABC’s Jim Greely pointed out that when in doubt, a Sauvignon Blanc is a very good pairing for asparagus, artichokes, or other unruly vegetables.
The goose foie gras torchon mini-tower (on the right, above) is a sliced pâté cylinder on a semi-frozen slab of goat cheese panna cotta, which rests on a crisply-toasted pumpernickel bread round. This Lilliputian lily is further gilded; topped with tomato marmalade and granular sea salt. “Oh my gawd! This is to die for” says one swooning dining companion. What a trio!
Dining is a social event, and I was happy to also talk with Executive Chef Christopher Cassel, Founding President of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Culinary Federation of Fort Myers, and Fort Myers’ Chef Jacques Perry-welcome tablemates.
|Visiting from Fort Myers- Chef Perry, and Chef Cassel|
Dessert was a collaboration between the three chefs. “Foie gras three ways” is not a usual dessert course. The chocolate dipped Foi-E-Claire, was piped with a mousse of foie gras, brandy and cinnamon. The foie gras ice cream (a killer frozen creation with rich cream and sugar) was sprinkled with foie gras sugar and topped with garden-fresh mint.
Bottom line- this and other Summer Chef Wine Series are a steal of a deal- five courses of heavenly food for $95, and I recommend adding the $45 wine pairing to make for an out of this world evening. The sixth and final of the Summer chef Series is October 17th, featuring guest chef David Speegle of Naples Roy’s Restaurant. The theme is quail eggs. Make your reservations for M Waterfront Grille now.
Visit IM Tapas for top quality tapas, heavenly stuffed squash blossoms, superb paellas, whole Mediterranean sea bass, Spanish wines and more-it’s clearly one of my favorite bistros in Florida. The tapas are the equal of or exceed the quality of tapas I’ve tasted in Spain.
M Watefront Grille 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd., Naples, 263-4421, www.mwaterfrontgrille.com
IM Tapas, 965 4th Avenue North, Naples, 403-8272, Imtapas.com