Each year Château St. Michelle teams up with winemakers, select sponsors, and some of Seattle’s best chefs to host the Auction of Washington Wines event to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital uncompensated care and Washington State University for viticulture and enology (wine) research. It’s a 3 day food & wine lover’s journey featuring a host of wineries pouring their jubilations, generously laced with gourmet food. This year the event raised $1.8 million to help support these two institutions.
I love wine…but this article is about the food. The culinary highlights began with Thursday’s picnic when the 7 chefs from Tulalip Resort showed up with their crew of 20+ cooks and support staff to set up 19 different food stations including a pit-roasted 100 pound pig.
For the past five years, Tulalip Resort has been the only culinary presence at the Thursday Auction of Washington Wines Picnic event because they have chosen to become the primary food sponsor for the picnic. Tulalip has made it their mission to become recognized as a culinary destination in Washington State. As a result, they both hire the talent and pay for the product to achieve this goal. For instance, for this event the chefs purchased Maine lobster tail and Wagyu Beef Tenderloin to give away to 1200 people…who else does that?!?
The gastronomical talent of these chefs continues to impress me. These chefs have a reputation for always bringing culinary magic to the table when they go to food shows. They make everything from scratch, taking the time to add the extra touch of love it requires to balance flavor and texture. They are my colleagues (my culinary brothers and sisters)…they both inspire and challenge me to excel at my craft, and it makes me proud to be counted as one of their peers.
So, what was my dish and how did I come up with it? My restaurant is called Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill, so I felt compelled to do something with Salmon!
Last year I came across a pastrami salmon recipe and tried it… it sucked! But I became intrigued by the idea and committed myself to creating a version which I liked. So after two more “spit it out!” experiences, I arrived at a final recipe:
Pastrami Sockeye Lox with a Watermelon chaser, citrus peel, micro greens, and Taro Root chip (for crunch). It was spicy in the sense of bold flavors, and the watermelon acted as a sort of palate cleanser to finish the dish.
The recipe takes the classic elements of a pastrami recipe and incorporates those seasonings and spices into my lox salmon recipe. Let the salmon cure for 24 hours, then remove the seasonings. Next, apply a simple syrup infused with the pastrami seasonings. Finally, re-apply a fresh layer of pastrami seasonings on the salmon. Slice thinly and serve!
The reaction from people was fun to watch. “Pastrami Salmon?” “Watermelon with Salmon?” Many would approach, hear my spiel about the dish, take one and walk away so that I wouldn’t see if they disliked it, and then return with a smile on their face for another. Others came up saying, “I was told that I had to come try this!”
Interviews with the Chefs
Chef David Buchanan (yours truly!)
Chef Brent Clarkson
Chef Nikol Nakamura
Chef Gerry Schultz