Trellis Chef Brian Scheehser Inspires at Celebrity Chef Dinner

beard_tomato_500With so much attention on new restaurant openings in Seattle and Bellevue, I find myself focusing on old favorites that, for some, have fallen off the radar.

One of my favorites is just a bit out of the Seattle/Bellevue scene: Trellis, located in Kirkland’s Heathman Hotel. When I learned that Trellis’ Chef Brian Scheehser would be joining Chef Richard Blais and Host Chef James Hassell (of the Columbia Tower Club) for the return of the Celebrity Chef Tour to benefit the James Beard Foundation, I knew I had to attend.

Scheehser maintains a farm just a few miles from the restaurant, so I always advise to pay special attention to the plates that have produce–and there are many. At the Celebrity Chef Tour dinner earlier this month, my favorite dish of the night was Scheehser’s roasted tomato tart with Rolling Stone fromage blanc and fig confit. The dish actually featured tomatoes done different ways, with the roasted ones giving the tart spectacular depth of flavor. As always, Sheehser’s robust and rustic preparations made me think about food in new ways.

beard_lamb_500Blais, by the way, is a former Top Chef participant who will soon appear on Top Chef: All-Stars, which premieres December 1. Head chef at Atlanta’s Flip Burger Boutique, he went seasonal in preparing the most intriguing dish of the night: lamb belly with Japanese pumpkin (kabocha), chocolate, and ginger.

This dish grew on me, the strength of the lamb capable of standing up to the chocolate, which matched well with the pureed kabocha and hits of candied and fresh ginger. In fact, the flavor combinations motivate me to make a dessert with colors suitable for the Halloween season.

Education and inspiration were fitting outcomes for this Celebrity Chef Tour dinner, which is good fun for a good cause. The James Beard Foundation gives out scholarships to promising culinary students as part of a mission which “celebrates, preserves and nurtures America’s culinary heritage and diversity.” Scheehser, our local treasure, and Blais, the out-of-town guest, nurtured us with innovative dishes that were worthy of celebration.

Cross-posted on on October 19, 2010.

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