Taste of Tulalip 2013 – Grand Taste

Taste-of-Tulalip-2013-Plate.gifThis year at the Taste of Tulalip’s Grand Taste enthusiastic revelers were offered a more extensive selection of excellent food and wine than ever before. With over 20 culinary delicacies to nosh on and over 120 wines to swirl & savor it was indeed an all day indulgence type of outing.

2013 marked the 5-year anniversary of the popular event, and to accommodate more people, food and wine we saw a redesigned layout of the event which expanded into additional areas of the Tulalip special function rooms. This expansion gave the feeling of a much less crowded look and atmosphere.Even with more attendees, the crowd “felt” smaller, and the lines for both food and wine were very short or non-existent.

Since I was already sore from Friday’s event, and the week of prep leading up to this point, I started my day with the typical chef’s breakfast supplement of a triple hit of ibuprofen…repeat for lunch and dinner.

For events such as this, a detailed mise en place list is the lifeblood of success. Without it one small thing is going to be overlooked which could then kill the entire day, causing you to pull your hair out while you scramble to recover from a small but essential oversight in the day’s necessities. A good list includes not only the food items and garnishes, but also the towels, utensils, equipment, sanitation buckets, plate design, and whatever else you plan to use that day.

Going through my list early in the day and double-checking it I noticed that my butane burners were not at the table. Come to find out two different departments expected the other one to get them for me. It was settled by sending someone to the store to buy additional ones for my station…a fatal oversight caught and averted before it became a problem. Tell that bastard Murphy’s Law to piss off!

The Food at the Taste of Tulalip 2013 Grand Taste

We served about 1800 pieces of each item this day and each creation was conceptualized and hand crafted by the designated Chef and his/her crew. Unfortunately my good camera died the week of the Taste so I had to use my iPhone for the pics…but at least you can get a good idea of the food served.



Rock & Roll Challenge

The Rock & Roll Challenge is a fun “iron chef” style cook-off. Three display kitchens (provided by Viking Range) under one tent, three teams of 2 chefs each, the exuberent Carla Hall as MC, jammin rock & roll, and an identical mystery basket for each team! This year’s chef teams were comprised of 4 local chefs and 2 Tulalip chefs. When they opened their mystery baskets they found foie gras, live geoduck, and Chito’s! They then had 10 minutes to work out a menu and battle plan, 30 minutes to produce samples for the judges including Chef Kristen Kish, and then an extended period of time to prepare their dish for the spectators. And the winner was Chef John Jamamec.

The Wineries to Sample

With so many wines to sample many guests opted to stay at the hotel this year, making their travel from beverage to room convenient, safe, and arrest free! Because Tulalip is located in Washington State the majority of wineries featured are from here…part of Tulalip’s commitment to local products and business. Many of the wineries offered second pouts, however I heard that some of the French wines being poured had a dealer cost of $400 – $600 per bottle, so there was a one pour limit on these high-end wines.

Grand Taste Wines at the Taste of Tulalip 2013


Adams Bench
Amavi Cellars
Ambassador Vineyards
Andrew Hill Winery
Barons Winery
Barrage Cellars
Bergevin Lane Vineyards
Betz Family Winery
Boudreaux Cellars
Cadence Winery
Charles Smith/K Vintners
Cahtaeau Ste. Michelle
Chinook Wines
Col Solare
Corliss Estate/Tranche
Côte Bonneville
Cuillen Hills
Dunham Cellars
Dusted Balley
El Corazon Winery
Figgins Family Wine Estates
Force Majeure
Furion Cellars
Gorman Winery

J Bookwalter
JM Cellars
Kevin White Winery
L’ Ecole 41
Leonetti Cellar
Long Shadows
Mackey Vineyards
Mark Ryan Winery
Milbrandt Vineyards
Northwest Totem Cellars
Obelisco Estate
Pepper Bridge Winery
Pondera Winery
Quilceda Creek
Rasa Vineyards
Revelry Vintners
Ross Andrew Winery
SalidaSaviah Cellars
Seven Hills Vineyards
Sleight of Hand Cellars
Sparkman Cellars
Spring Valley
Terra Blanca
Waitsburg Cellars
Willis Hall
Woodinville Wine Cellars


Aberrant Cellars
Beaux Fréres
Domaine Serene
King Estate
Owen Roe
Patricia Green Cellars
Penner Ash Wine Cellars
Sokol Blossor
Willa Kenzie Estate


Amuse Bouche
Gaurachi Family Wines
Nickel & Nickel
Rubicon Estate
Silver Oak
ZD Winery


Camille Giroud
Chateau Palmer
Domaine Laroche
Domaine Michel Magnien
Domaine Nicolas Rissignol
Dominique Mugneret
Nicolas Feuillatte


Bodegas Riojanas
Dominio de Atauta
Dominio De Tares
Gonáles Byass
Marques de Caceres
Pesquera Winery
Vall Llach

This year’s special guest line-up and agenda

Chef Kristen Kish – winner of season 10 Top Chef Seattle.
Chef Carla HallTop Chef contestant in seasons five & eight, and co-host of her the TV show The Chew.
Chef Lois Ellen Frankculinary historian, anthropologist, award winning author and photographer.

Saturday, November 9th
VIP Beer Seminar – 11:30 am
Kristen Kish Cooking Demo – 12:30 pm
Magnum Party with 250 attendees – 1:30 to 4:30 pm
Grand Taste with 2,000 attendees – 2:30 to 6:30 pm
Rock -n- Roll Challenge – 4:00pm


Posted In:Food and Wine  /  Taste of Tulalip

Taste of Tulalip 2013 – Celebration Dinner

Taste-of-Tulalip-Plate-2013.jpgTaste of Tulalip Commemorative Plate 2013

This year marked the 5th annual Taste of Tulalip, an event which is being hailed as the “Aspen Food & Wine show of the Pacific Northwest”. It has been awarded the Washington Wine Restaurant Award for “Best Event Featuring Washington Wine” by the Washington Wine Commission, and each year the event endeavors to be better than the previous year.

The Taste of Tulalip is a celebration of signature food, wine and tradition featuring unique, upscale tastes crafted by the eight chefs (yes, 8 chefs!) hired to oversee the property’s food venues. The Tulalip chefs (full disclosure…I am one of them) go above and beyond to serve unique, flavorful bites which leave you aching for more! We are not talking about the Bruschetta and soup you see served at a lot of food shows. This year the selections included elk tenderloin, seared pork belly, red sear Ahi sashimi, and Diver Scallops to name a few. The event is geared towards culinary and wine aficionados, but it is also a great place for newbies to try cuisine and wine which they have not been exposed to before. And the atmosphere is friendly and casual…not snobbish or elitist.

This year’s special guest line-up included

TOT-Wine-Bottle-art.jpgChef Kristen Kish – winner of season 10 Top Chef Seattle.

Chef Carla HallTop Chef contestant in seasons five & eight, and co-host of her the TV show The Chew.

Chef Lois Ellen Frankculinary historian, anthropologist, award winning author and photographer.

Each year a new wine bottle and charger plate are creatively designed by a tribal artist. This year’s artist was Jason Gobin. Pictured on the left is the magnum bottle, but 750 ml bottles are also designed. The wine is available for sale, but the chargers are only available if you attend the Celebration Dinner and are given as a gift to all attendees.

For the chefs, this event means prepping a plated course for 400 people on Friday, amuse bouche for 2000 on Saturday, and for me, a special Native American Brunch for 75 on Sunday. Below we are making the pine spheres, using molecular gastronomy techniques, for my Friday night dish Huckleberry Sockeye Lox Tartare with Pine Sphere. I took fresh new spruce pine shoots, cut the needles off and discarded the stems (which contain sap and a resin flavor). I then added water to the needles and pureed the heck out of them (love the Vitamix blender!). Strained through a chinois. Added the pulp back to the blender with more water, and repeated the process 2 more times. Then I added a little simple syrup and a pinch of sea salt. This made my pine sauce. (note: I had to do this in June when the pine shoots were fresh and young, then I froze the sauce).


Friday kicked off the 3 day culinary marathon with the Celebration Dinner, a 7-course indulgence featuring dishes which explored traditional tribal ingredients worked into modern interpretations and specifically paired with some fantastic wines.

For the chefs, this is the culmination of multiple tastings to get the food & wine pairing right, and hellacious hours prepping & planning every detail to try to make this dinner service go as smoothly as possible. For a typical plated banquet function like this, the entrees are pre-plated and held in a hot box a short time before service. But not this event. We want this to be as close to restaurant service as possible, hot from the stove to your table! Our mandate is to plate 400 covers (plates) in 15 minutes right into the waiting hands of the waitstaff. 400 covers in 15 minutes ala minute service!


To accomplish this we set-up 5 plating lines (so each line only had to plate 80 covers). Each line had 6 – 8 people on it and each person did only one thing, which means about 40 people helping to plate! (We are very fortunate to have a good relationship with Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute…they provide us with some willing students each year for this event who are essential to making this a success. It’s a great experience for the students…and it provides us with the skilled hands we need to pull this off). So using my plate as an example, one person did each of the following steps then passed the plate down the line:

  • Place the plate on the line
  • Add sauce
  • Use a spoon to make the “swoosh” for the sauce design
  • Add cedar sprig garnish (I know, it’s not edible; “don’t put something non-edible on the plate”, blah, blah, blah!)
  • Add dehydrated yellow beet crisp
  • Remove cover from pre-set salmon tartare
  • Add molecular gastronomy Pine Sphere
  • Wipe edges and pass plate to serving table

Chefs understand that creating this ?assembly line? makes the process go very quickly, and since my dish was not hot I had the luxury of being able to take 20 minutes to plate it and let it sit at room temp for a few minutes, giving me the time to fine tune presentations.

One very cool thing about this year was that they had a camera set-up in the kitchen and would periodically show the guests the “heat in the kitchen” as we worked to slam the different courses out. They had multiple large screens to display this to the dining room while they enjoyed their food and wine. If I can find a recorded copy I?ll post it here.

2013 Event Schedule

The festivities typically spans two days, but this was a special year celebrating the 5th anniversary of the event and an extra day was added for the occasion.

Friday, November 8th
Celebration Dinner
with 400 attendees – 7 courses pared with superb wines
Reception 6:00 pm, Dinner 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 9th
VIP Beer Seminar – 11:30 am
Kristen Kish Cooking Demo – 12:30 pm
Magnum Party with 250 attendees – 1:30 to 4:30 pm
Grand Taste with 2,000 attendees – 2:30 to 6:30 pm
Rock -n- Roll Challenge – 4:00pm

Sunday November 10th
VIP Native American Brunch with Chef Lois Frank – 11:00 am

Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dinner Menu 2013

Click on the photos below for a larger image

Blackberry Marinated Elk Tenderloin, Chanterelle Mushroom Bisque
Fried Shallots, Blackberry garnish

DuBrul Vineyards ‘Cote Bonneville’ Rose of Cabernet Franc
‘Le Deux’ Freres Betz Family & Tulalip Resort Fifth Anniversary Collaboration Red, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah

– Chef Gerry Schultz


Caramelized Diver Scallop
Hazelnut Butter, Sweet Corn Puree, Mango Puree, Green Apple Butter, Asiago Cheese Twill

Hanzell Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma, California
– Chef Brent Clarkson


The Three Sisters
Sweet Corn Bisque, Sugar Pumpkin Bisque, Savory Fried Snow Peas

José Dhondt Champagne, France
– Chef John Jadamec


Timbale of Dungeness Crab Salad
Corn Relish, Asiago Cheese, Tarragon, Golden Pea Shoots, Baby Arugula, Red Endive, Roasted Squash, Spiral of Yucca, Asiago Dressing

Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany
– Chef John Ponticelli


Huckleberry Sockeye Lox Tartar with Pine Sphere and Huckleberry Coulis

Domaine Serene “Jerusalem Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon
– Chef David Buchanan


Blackberry-Cranberry Granita with Iced Orange Reduction

Brasserie Dubuisson Pêche Mel? Scaldis, Belgium
– Chef John Jadamec


Petitas-Chile Lamb With Prickly Pear Demi
Cedar Blue Corn Tamale With Cotija, Bacon And White Sage Sauce, Azafran Micro Greens Butternut Warm Salad With Orange Reduction

Betz Family Winery “Pére de Famille” Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington
– Chef Perry Mascitti


Coffee Custard
Crushed Blackberries, Toasted Holmquist Hazelnuts, Honey-Chocolate Tuile

Charles Krug ?Lot XIII? Zinfandel Port, Napa, California
– Chef Nikol Nakamura



About the Wines:

Course – Reception

Betz Family Winery & Tulalip Resort 5th Anniversary Red
State or Country of Origin – Washington
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Yakima Valley
Varietals – Cabernet & Syrah

Since its first vintage in 1997, Betz Family Winery has had a single-minded goal of crafting compelling wines with individual character that are approachable and age-worthy, and which showcase Washington as a distinguished wine region of the world.

By carving out specific vineyard blocks and being meticulous in the vineyard and cellar they are able to achieve the quality they aspire to, the result being highly-acclaimed wines that compete on the world stage.

Today, Betz Family Winery is headed by two families, committed to be true to their heritage, their family members and true to what Betz embodies: wines of dimension and pleasure that allow the character of Washington to shine through. This wine is a custom wine, and the first time Betz Family has ever partnered with a property to make a wine.

Tasting Notes – a classic wine crafted by Bob Betz, smoke, blackcurrant, blackberry, and a nice spice hint to this wine. The Syrah really makes this wine smooth on the finish and velvety on the palate.

Course – Reception

Winery – Dubrul Family Vineyards Cote Bonneville Rose
State or Country of Origin – Washington
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Yakima Valley
Varietals – Cabernet Franc

Hugh and Kathy Shiels planted the steep rocky south-facing slopes of the DuBrul Vineyard in 1992. They grow six varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Hugh and Kathy Shiels founded Côte Bonneville in 2001 to create wines that best express their spectacular site each vintage year. By combining traditional winemaking techniques with cutting edge science, we craft estate-grown DuBrul Vineyard grapes into world class wines.

Tasting Notes – Offers up expressive notes of cherry blossom, spice box, cassis, and rhubarb. Medium to full-bodied and dry on the palate

Course – Amuse Caramelized Diver Scallop

Hanzell Vineyards Chardonnay
State or Country of Origin – California
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Sonoma
Varietals – Chardonnay

Industrialist James D. Zellerbach acquired the 200 acre Hanzell estate on the Mayacamas slopes above the town of Sonoma in 1948, and in 1952 he planted 2 acres of Pinot Noir and 4 acres of Chardonnay on the site. The Ambassador’s ambition was to create a small vineyard and winery dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Zellerbachs created the first vintage in 1957 and named their winery Hanzell, a contraction of Mrs. Hana Zellerbach’s name.

Zellerbach hired Ralph Bradford Webb in 1956 to be his winemaker and Webb would be integral to the winemaking for the first two decades of Hanzell. Webb introduced four significant advances in enology that would subsequently be adopted by many other wineries, predicating consistency and quality for the entire industry -temperature-controlled fermentation, the use of French Oak barrels, the practice of “blanketing” young wines in tank with inert gas and the practice of induced malolactic fermentation.

Tasting Notes – Brilliant aromas of lemon oil, nectarine, lime zest, chamomile and wet stone combine with our signature floral scent reminiscent of honeysuckle and jasmine. Green apple, pear and nectarine expand out over the rich, viscous mid-­palate. The acidity comes forward as it carries the flavors on to a long, lemony finish.

Course – Salad

Joh. Jos. Prüm Riesling, Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett,Germany
State or Country of Origin – Germany
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Varietals – Riesling

For centuries the Prüm family has called the village of Wehlen home. The 33.5 acre estate consists of nearly 70% ungrafted vines. Holdings are in the best parts of the top Middle-Mosel sites: Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Bernkasteler Lay, Bernkasteler Badstube, and Bernkasteler Bratenhöfchen. Average annual production is 13,000 cases. The harvest at J.J. Prüm is always extremely late, and the wines are very long-lived.

Tasting Notes – A racy style, with flinty notes to the fresh-cut apple and crunchy peach flavors, matched to a slightly viscous salinity. Lemon zest lingers on the well-structured finish, revealing hints of passion fruit.”

Course – Soup

Jose’ Dhondt Champagne
State or Country of Origin – France
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Champagne
Varietals – Chardonnay

Descended from generations of vignerons living in and around in the village of Oger, José Dhondt bottled his own first cuvée in1974. His Blanc de Blancs is aristocratic, with a fresh style that is infused with a dollop of fresh cream. He still uses a traditional wooden press, aiming to emphasize grilled bread notes, weight and structure. The Chardonnay fruit demonstrates complexity on a lingering finish. A lovely wine with extensive length and depth.

Tasting Notes – The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs flows with the essence of lemon, white flowers, almonds and pears. It is a bright, focused wine backed up with considerable plushness and generosity

Course – Sockeye Huckleberry Lox Tartare

Domaine Serene ‘Jerusalem’ VIneyard
State or Country of Origin – Oregon
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Eola-Amity Hills
Varietals – Pinot Noir

Ken and Grace Evenstad founded Domaine Serene Vineyards and Winery in 1989 when they purchased 42 acres of just-logged land in the Dundee Hills of Oregon to plant, grow and produce ultra-premium Pinot Noir. They have been involved in every aspect of growing, producing and marketing Domaine Serene wines. Ken and Grace own 462 acres of land in Yamhill County in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, 150 acres of land is planted to vine. In addition to Pinot Noir, which is about 95% of the wine produced, they also make a little Chardonnay and Syrah. Their wines have won many accolades and awards, including over 80 wines scoring 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator

Tasting Notes – Jerusalem Hill is their lowest elevation vineyard and their only Estate located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The vineyard is planted to Dijon, Pommard and Wädenswil clones of Pinot Noir on sedimentary soils in the Woodburn series . Pinot Noir made from the Jerusalem Hill vineyard has aromas that are rich with dark fruits, dried cherries, wild game and spice. In the mouth, the wine is powerful and brawny, mouth coating on the mid-palate and has lingering tannins on the finish.

Course – Intermezzo

Brasserie Dubuisson Peche Mel Scaldis
State or Country of Origin – Belgium
Area – Leuze-Pipaix Eola-Amity Hills
Style – Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Dubuisson been brewing continuously since 1769—before Belgium was a country and longer than the Trappist breweries. Dubuisson is a shining example of the civic brewer and proud protector of the tradition. Both Peche Mel and Scaldis earned Gold medals in World Beer Championships this past year. Prestige has maintained perfect 100s on RateBeer.

Dubuisson is in the hamlet of Pipaix, just outside Tournai and in the heart of French-speaking Wallonia. The province where Scaldis is brewed is called Hainaut. The word means “land of groves” and indeed it is the richest agricultural province in Belgium.

A generic form of flavored beer, some breweries actually use real fruit or veggies, though most use an extract, syrup or processed flavor to give the effect of a particular fruit or vegetable. Usually ales, but with not much ale character to them and commonly unbalanced. Malt flavor is typically hidden with a low hop bitterness to allow the fruit or vegetable to dominate.

Course – Lamb w/ Prickly Pear Demi

Betz Family Winery ‘Pere de Famille’
State or Country of Origin – Washington
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Columbia Valley
Varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot

Since its first vintange in 1997, Betz Family Winery has had a single-minded goal of crafting compelling wines with individual character that are approachable and age-worthy, and wich showcase Washington as a distinguished wine region of the world.

By carving out specific vineyard blocks and being meticulous in the vineyard and cellar they are able to achieve the quality they aspire to, the result being highly-acclaimed wines that compete on the world stage. Today, Betz Family Winery is headed by two families, committed to be true to their heritage, their family members and true to what Betz embodies: wines of dimension and pleasure that allow the character of Washington to shine through.

Tasting Notes – A densely saturated vibrant black/red color leads to a nose of pure black currants, at once inky yet penetrating. Studded with notes of dried thyme, anise and pipe tobacco, the aroma emerges as pure Cabernet. The entry is plump, supple and refined, enriched by blending with small amounts of Petite Verdot and Merlot.

Course – Dessert

Charles Krug Lot XIII Zinfandel Port, Napa California
State or Country of Origin – California
AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Napa Valley
Varietals – Zinfandel

The Charles Krug Winery was established in 1861 as the first winery in the Napa Valley by Prussian-born visionary and revolutionary Charles Krug. Today the winery focuses on handcrafted Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties grown within with Napa Valley appellations and sub-appellations. The winery remains under the stewardship of the Peter Mondavi Sr Family, who purchased the historic winery in 1943. Peter Mondavi Sr remains at the helm of the winery, with day-to-day operations handled by his two sons Marc and Peter Jr.

Tasting Notes – Crafted in the spirit of the Solera style, fifteen vintages create a seductive history of our Port in one glass. A savory composition of berry preserves, toffee, and spicy oak aromatics, this elegant and weighty Port lingers on the palate, slowly drifting to a chewy, yet supple finish.

What others are saying about Taste of Tulalip 2013


Posted In:Food and Wine  /  Taste of Tulalip

Taste of Tulalip 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dining RoomIf you live in the Pacific Northwest then you have probably heard of the four diamond Tulalip Resort Casino. This year was the 4th year of the now regionally acclaimed Taste of Tulalip, a two day food and wine experience which surpasses many such events on the West Coast. Each year we try to do something just a little bit “bigger or better” than the year before. Friday November 9th featured the 7-course Celebration Dinner for 400 people (tickets sold out about 2 months before the event, so plan ahead for next year!). And Saturday November 10th was the Grand Taste event, featuring 135 wineries and a plethora of tasty bites, all prepared by the talented Tulalip chefs.

In addition to these two main events, there were numerous additional special features which made this year’s Taste of Tulalip one of the Pacific Northwest’s must attend events. Special features included:

  • a cooking demo by celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson, 3-Time James Beard Award Winner & TV personality
  • Craft Beer Garden in the Oasis Pool room
  • Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbrocco was the celebrity emcee and conducted a wine seminar
  • Private Magnum Party featuring some highly sought after & elite wines
  • 135 wineries from the West Coast, France and Italy
  • Rock-n-Roll Cooking Challenge Cook-off with Chefs Gerry Schultz, Brent Clarkson, Robin Leventhal from Top Chef season 6
  • Guest judges for the Rock-n-Roll Cooking Challenge Cook-off included:
    • Chef Marcus Samuelesson
    • Chef Wayne Johnson
    • “Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbrocco
    • Mauny Kaseburg

Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dinner – Go Big or Go Home!

Taste of Tulalip Plate 2012The Celebration Dinner was a 7-course food & wine pairing with each of the seven Tulalip chefs (yes, Tulalip employs seven professional chefs, each to oversee a specific venue at Tulalip, with Executive Chef Perry Mascitti overseeing them all) preparing one of the courses and a team of about 45 kitchen staff helping to plate each course, and 30+ waitstaff to deliver plates.

As chefs we are by necessity creative thinkers. We are constantly in situations which require us to think outside of the box. For us there are no problems, there are only challenges for which we need to provide a solution. Every chef has victory stories which are the result of a night from hell. A very few of my challenges have included: “Two of the four ovens are down?! Run the menu with plan B.” “The power is out but the gas still works…we cook by candlelight tonight!” “13 banquet functions within 30 minutes… WTF!? OK, I’ll make it happen.” “Feed 30,000 people lunch? We’ll get the plan in place.”

Our job as chefs constantly has us overcoming obstacles in order to produce something incredible for our guests. To be honest, when other service providers (such as my cell phone company) tell me that they “can’t” help me, it pisses the hell out of me. It means that they are too stupid, or too lazy, to offer proper customer service. They don’t know customer service like we do.

Each of the Tulalip chefs had their own special problem to tackle this year. Chef JP (John Pontichelli) had the unfortunate task of pairing a salad course with a red wine! Good luck buddy! His solution was a wonderful pairing (see below).

Banquet Chef Gerry Schultz’s challenge was to produce fine dining quality plates throughout a seven course dinner for 400 expecting guests with only 15 minutes to plate each course. He did this by setting up five serving lines and having around 45 kitchen staff cooking and plating. He drew upon staff from his own crew, from the various resort restaurants, and from the stewarding department. Executive Chef Perry Mascitti also arranged for a number of volunteer culinary students from the Cordon Bleu culinary school to assist.

Chef Gerry was an organizational sage! He had to instruct 40 people how to plate 7 courses they had never seen before, and each course had to be precisely presented & completed in about 15 minutes! He had each chef photograph their dish a month earlier and provide a plating diagram so each of the five plating lines would know how to execute each dish. He had diagrams, photos, and great communication so that nothing was left to chance. All his preparation left minimal chance for that bastard “Murphy’s Law” to show up (I hate that guy!).

Kitchen Plate-up Kitchen Plate-up_2


My challenge was to prepare 400 hundred portions of perfectly cooked king salmon using a new method in which the salmon is semi-poached from the bottom up leaving the top eighth of an inch raw. In the Pacific Northwest we like our salmon MR to M, and the idea behind this dish was to put the MR on top of the salmon rather than in the middle. The dish was called “naked salmon” and it appears like sushi on the top, but is cooked on the bottom three quarters. This method gives it a stunning presentation with the glistening red-orange raw flesh on top, and it retains the wonderful natural flavor of the salmon.

I mentally labored over the firing time as if it were my first soufflé. Fire it too late and the entire event goes on hold while everyone waits for my dish to be ready, making for an awkward stall in the flow of service. Fire it too early and the salmon dries out and turns to dog food, ruining the reputation of the entire event. (Damn it! We should have eaten at McDonald’s!).

To pull this off, I used multiple improvised poaching stations and had all my salmon staged in 2” perforated hotel pans. One Tilt Skillet held 4 pans, four 6” hotel pans set over a flat-top griddle was my second station. And finally, another 6” hotel set over a broiler created my last station. All were set at about 190°. This allowed me to cook 200 of the needed 400 portions, then quickly rotate and get the second batch of 200 fired, timing it so it was done as my course was being plated.

Of course, I had done a dry run with 8 portions… but not with 200 fired at a once! Cooking time would certainly take longer. In the end, I fired the first half of my salmon during the plating of the second course (I was the fourth course). I stored it in a hot box set at 135° for 20 minutes and pulled the second batch of salmon as we started the plate-up for my course. Whew!!! Even though I’m a heathen I thank God for help on this one! Perfectly cooked salmon is Awesome! Overcooked salmon is dog shit.

Another challenging course was the Wagu Filet Mignon Pair. Chef Perry wanted it served on a small metal plate so that it was still sizzling when it hit the table. These little plates were at 750°! As this course was served you could hear 400 sizzling steaks, and the aroma of the wagu coupled with the wine made your head spin with pleasure.

The evening involved hours of preparation followed by a 3 hour adrenaline rush during plating. At the end… a great sense of relief and satisfaction of not only completing the challenge, but having done so with excellence. Thank-you’s and pats on the back all around, then I slammed an Upside-down Old Fashioned (made w/ Knob Creek Bourbon) and a double Absolute Cran to start the wind-down.

Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dinner Menu 2012

Holiday Lobster Wedding – Chef Gerry Schultz
Lobster Terrine, Chanterelle Mushrooms Peppadew Peppers, Vanilla Shallot Foam, and Micro Greens
Pumpkin Lobster Bake, Pear Chestnut Relish
Italy, Vignalta Pinot Bianco ‘Agno Casto’

Holiday Lobster Wedding by Chef Schultz jpg


Asian Soup Duet – Chef Brent Clarkson
Lime, Galangal, Daikon, Coconut, Tarragon, Thai Basil, Dungeness Crab, Miso, and Gyoza Ravioli Stuffed with Maitake, Porcini & Shitake Medley
Sesame Twill
France, Famille Perrin Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Vielles Vin’ Blanc

Asian Soup Duet by Chef Clarkson jpg


Micro Green Salad With Duo Of Duck – Chef JP John Pontichelli
Smoked Duck Sausage- Stuffed Honey Crisp Apple Topped with Quail Egg
Pancetta-Wrapped Duck Sausage
Arugula Micro Beet Greens with Lavender-Balsamic Mist
Oregon, Penner-Ash Pinot Noir ‘Pas de Nom’, Willamette Valley

Duo of Duck Micro Green Salad by Chef JP jpg


Salmon Two Ways – Chef David Buchanan
Orange-Tarragon Cured Sockeye with Lemon Oil
“Naked” King Salmon With Bellavitano Gold Pesto
Washington State, Woodinville Wine Cellars Cabernet Franc

Salmon Two Ways by Chef Buchanan jpg


Intermezzo – Chef John Jadamec
Hot and Cold Item, Fire and Ice if You Will, On One Plate
Grilled Fresh Pineapple with Touch of Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper & Sugar
Green Apple Mint Swirl Sorbet

Fire and Ice Intermezzo by Chef Jademec jpg


Snake River Farms Wagu Filet Mignon Pair – Chef Perry Mascitti
Cave Bleu Huckleberry Demi, Gremolata Gele’e, Chive-Red Peppercorn Aroma Drop
California, ZD Wines, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Wagu Filet Mignon Pair by Chef Mascitti jpg


The S’more – Chef Nikol Nakamura
Flourless Chocolate Cake, Honey-Vanilla Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Sticks
Liquid Chocolate

The S'more by Chef Nakamura jpg


Parting Gift – Chef Nikol Nakamura
Milk Chocolate Covered Holmquist Hazelnuts
Washington State, Eroica Riesling Ice Wine ‘Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Ernst Loosen’, Columbia Valley
Sorry!! No picture.


Rock-n-Roll Challenge Cook-off

This is a fun mystery box style challenge which paired two teams of chefs against each other. When they opened the mystery box they found Live Maine Lobsters! They had 10 minutes to create a menu, then 30 minutes to compose a dish for the judges, followed by samples for the crowd.

Team Bun Jovi consisted of chefs Gerry Schultz (Tulalip’s reigning Rock-n-Roll Challenge champion), Robin Leventhal from Top Chef season 6, and Jeff Euteneier from Seattle’s Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College. Team Appetite for Destruction included chefs Brent Clarkson from Tulalip Resort’s Cedars Café,Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, both from the restaurant group of Sput, Tavern Law, and The Coterie Room.

Team Bun Jovi took the prize, giving Chef Gerry his third victory. Although, I heard that the judges were hard-pressed to choose a winner and that the count was close. The winning dish was a Saffron cous cous with lemongrass, herb and butter Main lobster Medallions, Micro green and Apple Salad, with Hazelnut vinaigrette & Holmquist Hazelnuts.

Other articles and blogs about the 2012 Taste of Tulalip:

Daily Blender
Within 4 Hour Reach
My Wine Pal
VanCouver Scape – Celebration Dinner
VanCouver Scape – Grand Taste
Washington Tasting Room

Posts from Previous Years

Taste of Tulalip 2011
Taste of Tulalip 2010


Posted In:Food and Wine  /  Taste of Tulalip

Taste of Tulalip Gala Dinner 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Third Annual Taste of Tulalip is Another Success

Taste of Tulalip Charger 2011 jpgThis year Tulalip Resort Casino held their third annual Taste of Tulalip Food & Wine Event. It was a 2 day food and wine experience, kicking off with Friday’s Taste of Tulalip Gala Dinner, hosted by “Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbracco. Saturday followed with the Grand Tasting featuring the Tulalip Chef’s exquisite cuisine samples and 65 wineries from Washington, California, and Italy. This post is about Friday’s Gala Dinner.

The Taste of Tulalip Gala Dinner is a seven course food & wine pairing featuring fantastic food and exquisite wines. According to F&B Manager Lisa Severn, Tulalip’s philosophy regarding culinary events is “Do it right or go home.” The menu for this year’s dinner again shows that the Tulalip Chefs and Sommelier Tom Thompson know how to do it right. There were 400 seats available and the event sold out several weeks in advance, a testament to the growing popularity of the event.

In The Kitchen for Taste of Tulalip

Taste of Tulalip 2011 Dining Room jpgFor the Chefs, the challenge was, ”How do you serve 7 courses of restaurant quality food to 400 people at once?” Each course had to be plated and served to order. For a typical plated banquet function for a large group, there are usually only 3-4 courses (soup, salad, entrée, dessert) with only the soup and entrée courses plated to order. And the entrée course is usually pre-plated 5-15 minutes ahead of the serving time and stored with covers in a hot box, ready to be served en mass to large parties. But we wanted the food served from the oven to the guest with no holding time. So we set-up six plating lines with 6 people on each line so we could mass produce 400 plates directly into the waiting hands of the service staff.

We had prepped, planed, organized, and were now ready to execute service. Towels in hand, 7 professional chefs, 36+ support staff to help plate, additional crew to man the ovens, and an army of servers, we were ready to dance. Now we impatiently wait for the word “Go!” wondering if you missed anything.

The Waiting Game jpg

Your mind is racing, going over the plate-up for the nth time, trying to discover the one thing you missed, the one possible obstacle which you didn’t make a “plan B” for. Your crew looks at you sideways as you explain again what your expectations are.

The first course is supposed to be served at 7:35 pm, but, of course, things run late, 15 minutes late. Now you’re recalculating your firing times and communicating it with your staff. The kitchen is set to go with over 45 staff crammed into it. I can’t simply walk over to my oven crew, it’s too crowded. So I walk around the back hallways 3 or 4 times to communicate new instructions to my staff. The other chefs are doing the same.

Then, its go time! Everything is in high gear now, commands are short and direct. “Get that food moving!” “That’s too much sauce, use less!” “Line 2, speed up!” “Clean up those plate edges!” “More garnish on Line 2!” “Sauce on 4!” “Lamb on Line 3!” “Why the f___ are you giving me rare lamb racks, I want medium-rare. Fix it!” “Only 20 more for this course” “Done! Stop! Clean-up and prepare for the next course. Good job everyone!”

Taste of Tulalip Gala Dinnier 2011 Plate-up jpg

Each course only took about 15 minutes to serve. For each course, all six lines and 40+ kitchen staff worked to produce that one course; then clean, reorganize, and do it again until after 3 hours of riding an adrenaline wave, we slammed through dessert. Our work was successfully completed, we could finally take a deep breath, relax… and suddenly realize… ” holy hell am I tired!”

Taste of Tulalip Gala Dinner Menu 2011


Smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly, Maple Vanilla Gastrique
Parsnip Puree, Fois Gras, Bacon Jam, Halloumi Cheese wrapped in Jamon Iberico Prosciutto
Chef Brent Clarkson
Long Shadow’s “Poets Leap” Riesling Columbia Valley, WA 2010

Smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly jpg


Thai Curry Kabocha Squash Bisque
Tempura Vegetables with Five-spiced Cherry Reduction

Chef Dean Shinagauwa
Va Piano Vinyards “Bruno’s White II” Sauvingnon Blanc Columbia Valley, WA

Kobacha Squash Soup jpg


Southwest Duck Breast with Hydro Bibb
Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Gruyere, Pine Nuts, Pecorino Crisp
Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Chef John Ponticelli
Reynvaan Vineyards “The Contender” Syrah Walla Walla, WA 2008

Southwest Duck with Hydro Bibb jpg


Grilled Wild King Salmon with seared Apple, Pear, Fennel Confit and Chevre
over savory Brioche-Apple Bread Pudding
Cinnamon and Autumn-Spiced Lamb Chop with Huckleberry Demi

Chef David Buchanan
Sparkman Cellars “L’ Autre” Pinot Noir Eola-Amilty Hills, OR 2009
Corliss Estates “Cabernet Sauvignon” Columbia Valley, WA 2006

Salmon Lamb jpg


Ruby Pink Grapefruit Segments
Blood Orange Reduction Pepette
Chef John Jadamec

Intermezzo jpg


A Study in Beef
Kobe New York Strip Loin in Chanterelle Cream
Kobe Prime Rib in Baby Boy Blue Sauce
Kobe Tenderloin in Huckleberry Demi Glace
Smoked Yukon Mash with Sage, Seasonal Ratatouille
Chefs Gerry Schultz & John Jadamec
21 Gram’s “Red Blend” Columbia Valley, WA 2007

Trio of Kobe Beef jpg


Sweet Ending
Warm Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pudding Cake
Peanut Tuile, Frozen Banana Nougat, Butterscotch Sauce
Chef Nikol Nakamura
Charles Drug Lot XIV Zinfandel Port Napa, CA

Chocolate Pudding Cake jpg


What Other Blogs have to Say About the Taste of Tulalip 2011


Posted In:Food and Wine  /  Taste of Tulalip

Taste Of Tulalip 2010

Crab Sushi Taste of Tulalip 2010Course 1: Dungeness and Alaskan Crab Sushi with Wild Rice, sesame lavash, avocado wasabi foam
– Chefs Gerry Schultz & John Jadamec

Tulalip Resort Casino recently held their second annual Taste of Tulalip event featuring a two day gastronomic and wine experience. In 2009 the Taste of Tulalip was awarded the Washington Wine Commissions “Best Wine Event” featuring Washington Wines. This year on Friday November 12th the event kicked off with the Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dinner, featuring a six-course plated culinary adventure orchestrated under the direction of Executive Chef Perry Mascitti, and paired with wines carefully selected by Sommelier Tommy Thompson.

Saturday November 13th continued with the Taste of Tulalip Grand Taste featuring a large variety of gourmet foods prepared by the Tulalip chefs, and more than 60 Washington wineries and 20+ Napa Valley wineries invited to pour.

Quail Salad and Soup Taste of Tulalip 2010Course 2: Chanterelle, Smoked Boar Bacon and Aged Cheddar Soup with Quail Salad of Micro Greens, Mache and Blackberry Vinaigrette– Chefs Gerry Schultz & John Ponticelli

Chef Perry oversaw his team of professional chefs execute the Celebration Dinner for 400 guests, serving each of the six courses in about 20 minutes per course. Banquet Chef Gerry Schultz set-up two long serving tables and utilized both sides of each table for plating, thus giving us four serving lines. Each course was designed and orchestrated by a different member of the chef team. For each course, the ingredients were placed in the center of each table, and the crew assembled plates by putting one item on the plate and passing it to the next person who put their item on the plate, and so on.

Plating one of the courses

We were all set with prep and ready to go about an hour early (except for final cooking) so we had time to catch our breath from the long prep time. We stood around, wait… wait… go!!! What followed was a two hour long adrenaline rush. “Where is the mushrooms?! I need mushrooms NOW!” “This one is garbage, re-plate it!” “Sauce! We need more sauce here!” “Not that way! Do it this way.” “Wipe that plate edge!” “Clear and wipe down for the next course!” Six courses times 400 people means 2,400 plates served in about two hours! The Dance (culinary lingo for how cooks move in the kitchen during high-production, high-stress times) was in full swing and everyone was moving in the complicated, controlled chaos which is the Dance. Moving, running, communicating tersely and with intense focus. Nothing else exists except what we are doing right now, and what we need to do next. “What, there’s a huge fire at the empty building next door? Is it going to affect my plate-up? No? Then I don’t care. It’s all about the food now.” That’s how we think during the Dance.

Miso Salmon Taste of Tulalip 2010
Course 3: White and Red Miso Salmon, Miso Rice, Lemon Butter Tamari Mushroom Medley, Inari-Nori Slaw
– Chefs Brent Clarkson & David Buchanan
Pomagranate Gelee Taste of Tulalip 2010
Course 4: Intermezzo – Pomegranate Aspic, orange
– Chef Kurt Hitchman
Duo of Beef Taste of Tulalip 2010
Course 5: Wagyu Beef Short Ribs and Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, Bleu Cheese Potato, shiitaki, sundried cherries, cabernet demi glace
– Chef Dean Shinagawa


Dessert Taste of Tulalip 2010
Course 6: “A Study In Chocolate” White chocolate cream, milk chocolate cremosa, 55% chocolate ganache filled raspberries, 72% dark chocolate baby fondant cake
– Chef Nikol Nakamura
Taste of Tulalip wines
The wines which were paired with each course
– Sommelier Tommy Thompson


Taste of Tulalip Grand Tasting

On Saturday the Grand Tasting featured over 60 Washington wineries and 20 Napa Valley wineries available for tasting. And the chefs of Tulalip put out a culinary extravaganza of flavors for about 1200 people. Below are some of the dishes which were offered at the event. Click on the images below for a larger image.

Apple-Lacquered-Halibut.jpg Hors.jpg Dungeness crab, avocado, mango timbale with blood orange vinaigrette
Alaskan-Spot-Prawn.jpg Chocolate-Sculpture.jpg Jeff.jpg
Deans-Scallop.jpg Scallop.jpg Pasta.jpg
Dessert1.jpg Spicy-Wonton-with-Seared-Ahi.jpg Dessert2.jpg
Seafood-Platter.jpg Shrimp.jpg Lamb.jpg



Posted In:Food and Wine  /  Taste of Tulalip