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


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