Our Iron Chef Competition
What a weekend! Not only did Adat Shalom swear in a new Iron Chef, but it also hosted a most wonderful gala inauguration dinner in our very own Social Hall. And the Golden Whisk goes to David Dolinsky who, with his able VP and sous chef Bruce Stein, was chosen for this honor. It was a very close race, to be sure. Who knew that we had so many talented chefs in our midst? In addition to incumbent Cheryl Kollin, we also had Victor Katz and Philip Abrams throw their toques into the ring. (Follow those metaphors!)
For those of you who did not bid on (and win) tickets to the Iron Chef dinner at Adat's auction, I have to advise you: start saving your loose change now for next year's evening. The food was spectacular, the setting quite appealing and my fellow judges thoughtful and knowledgeable. The wine flowed as easily as the conversation at the judges' table, and it sounded as if the same were true for the chefs in the kitchen and staging area. Plus, there were plenty of forks (and wait staff).
All of these masterful chefs managed to create an enticing and interesting menu from a most unusual combination of required ingredients (pictured below for visual edification). The appetizer had to include eggplant, ginger, and vanilla bean; the entree: shiitake mushrooms and lime; and for dessert: red pepper and cilantro.
Yes! It's true! Red pepper for dessert. Ever had red pepper cheesecake? It will knock your socks off. How about cilantro ice cream nestled (that's right) inside an espresso-almond biscotti shell? Those chefs were on fire!
And it was not due to the flames emanating from Philip Abrams's cafe brulot either (photo included). All our chefs demonstrated great creativity and skill, as well as -- and perhaps more importantly -- a joie de cuisine that was contagious. (I made up that phrase.) Hearing them explain the genesis of the dishes and their experimentation was great fun and inspiring as well.
Special pyrotechnics were provided by Chef Philip -- and don't worry, the fire
marshal was waiting right outside in the mishnah garden in case of any problems.
The next Iron Chef Adat Shalom will be January 2014. Sign me up!
Special thanks to our gracious and welcoming host (and my date for the evening), Alissa Stern. And thanks to Alissa's husband, Louis Boorstin, for being out of town.
Reporting by Jennifer Gold. Photos by Alissa Stern. Food for the Gods (with my apologies, Rabbi Fred) by our chefs. All rights reserved -- as well as a seat at the table next January, 2014.