Celebrity Chef Tour Offers Reasons to Be Thankful

beard_chefs_300wEvery year or two, the Celebrity Chef Tour rolls through Seattle. The event typically pairs a well-known chef from outside the area with a local one; for example, in 2010, Trellis‘ Brian Scheehser worked with Top Chef contestant Richard Blais. The Celebrity Chef Tour benefits the James Beard Foundation, with the local event typically held at the top of the Columbia Tower Club, where host chef James Hassell also contributes to the dinner.

This year’s guest chefs, though, were three celebrities from the Seattle restaurant scene: Jason Franey of Canlis, Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s and Luc, and Jason Wilson of Crush. An experience at any of their restaurants can be amazing. This multi-course meal with all three of them contributing was simply magical.

Franey prepared small bites for the reception, including foie gras pumpkin pie, sweet potato tapioca pudding with prawn, and a gorgeous rabbit loin with pine ash, apple, and yuzu. (Unfortunately, I was unable to capture any photos of these passed plates.)

Following Hassell’s salad course and Rautureau’s foie gras pairing (one as part of a smoked duck gizzard salad that I especially enjoyed), Wilson served a refreshing plate with geoduck, sea vegetables, sorrel, and Meyer lemon:


Next up was the duck course, in which Rautureau plated cured duck breast with flageolet puree, chanterelle mushrooms, foie gras nage, and harissa jam (and, yes, he has a bit of a foie gras fetish, which is fine by me):


Wilson followed this up with pork and fish, serving Pacific turbot and pig skins (chicharrones) with cured foie gras sauce (the fetish was contagious), red wine onion lentils, pork belly, and fennel:


The evening ended with Hassell’s dessert of caramel-poached Seckel pears (delicious!) with crispy shortbread and creme fraiche ice cream. After Chateau Ste. Michelle wine pairings throughout the meal, this course came with a full glass of Leffe beer.

As much fun as it was to sample all the wonderful food, I also enjoyed watching the chefs at work in the kitchen. While earnest in their endeavors, Franey, Rautureau, and Wilson worked as a team in a fun and playful manner in getting each of the courses out to the dining room. Observing them made me appreciative of all the culinary talent we have in our area, and thankful for any opportunity I have to sample the spectacular food all these chefs create day to day.


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