This was an event that was akin to the single moment of excitement on Christmas morning, except that this lasted for 5 hours.
Chef Anthony Bucco of The Ryland Inn graciously offered the use of his amazing kitchen for our November event in Whitehouse Station. The history of this venue, combined with the unparalleled warmth and gracious nature of Chef Bucco made for a singularly unforgettable event.
Chef Bucco volunteered his time off, an evening away from his family, to host us at the gorgeous Ryland Inn. We can't thank him enough for this experience; it will easily be something that none of us will soon forget and will talk about for years to come. Again, Chef, we thank you.
The menu of the evening
1st Course: Heirloom Beet Tasting
2nd Course: Steamed Black Bass with Green Tea Salt, Baby Bok Choy and Garlic Chips 3rd Course: Brioche Stuffed Quail with Fall Harvest Vegetables and Thyme jus
4th Course: Veal Cheeks and Sweetbreads with Creamy Polenta and Broccoli Rabe 5th Course: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tasting
Paul started the veal cheeks on Sunday. Here's one veal cheek untrimmed.
Use a filet knife to cut a slot in the end of the fat layer.
Use the slot as a finger hold to slice the fat and silver skin off easily.
Vacuum seal the cheeks
Cook them at 180F for 8 hours in the sous vide bath.
The dining room.
Everyone is relaxing before the event unfolds.
Raise a glass!
Everyone is going over the menu.
Chef Anthony talked about the use of his kitchen.
Rod McDowell from the London Ontario Chapter joined us.
......ssshhhhhhh....... Andre meditates before we get started.
A great sausage assortment and mustards.
Beautiful bass filets.
Opening the quail.
The cooked and chilled cheeks are ready to be reheated.
Chef Anthony and his Sous Chef, Martyna welcomed us to their kitchen.
We start to arrive with all our supplies.
Sweetbreads are rinsing.
Al checks his wine.
The brioche is being cut and readied to be toasted.
Azzi is trimming the Brussels Sprouts.
Chef Bucco explains how to clean and prepare the sweetbreads
Martyna demonstrates cutting on an alternating bias.
The kitchen is bustling!
Jay goes over the course with his team.
Everyone separates out into teams.
Lots of action in the kitchen.
More teams discussing.
A view down the kitchen at the activity.
Alvaro and Larry peel the garlic. There was a LOT of garlic!!
A zombie buffet.
So many birds!
Jay's armed with a camera.
Ed and Larry measure the eggs......
Just a picture of someone else smiling while Azzi isn't!
The beet prep area!
Martyna keeping watch, eager to answer any question that's thrown her way.
Bob and Stephen cutting the beets for the heirloom beet tasting dish.
Dave, Andre and Bob peel the yellow beets.
Efrain is making sure everyone has what they need and is working happily!
Larry and Alvaro are on the garlic detail!
Ed listens intently.
Eric Alsager debones the bass fillets.
In this kitchen thre are no open flames - by design.
Paul and Rod chat while Jay is working the cooktop.
The bass is scored so it doesn't curl up when it's cooked.
There were a lot of beets to cut!
Keep stirring, Larry!
The brioche crust is removed and then the bread is cut and dried in the oven.
Lots of bread to be cut!
Al prepares the gelatin for the dessert recipe.
Chef Bucco demonstrates the cleaning and prepping of the sweetbreads.
Mike and Rod take over from Chef.
Omar and Jon work on the quail recipe.
There he is -- Happy Man himself -- Azzi. Happy as a clam with his Brussels sprouts.
Everyone so hard at work!!
Larry is whisking the eggs and sugar......and whisking.....and whisking.....until he sees those elusive ribbons form, telling him he's almost done!
"Please tell me this is it, Chef...." "Yep, you've got it"
Say what you want, but the man's got some cans.....(toldja I'd do it, Jay....mwahahahaha)
Ed is making the peanut custard. Which, by the way, was amazing.
Al and Paul discuss the gelatin issue....
The rounds of beets are cut, leaving some tasty beet debris.
Ed transfers the peanut custard to a large bowl.
Chef Bucco explains how we're to stuff the quail with the soaked brioche.
The taste is worth the work.
Omar hands over some broth to soak the brioche in before it's stuffed into the quail.
Ed and Martyna
Someone's got a date with some bleach later on.....
Jay checks out the goings on on the cooktop.
Gaaaah-lic. We're all sleeping alone tonight.
A little oil, herbs and salt go on to sweetbreads.
The quail are put in bags with some rosemary, oil and put in the sous vide to cook!
Baby bok choy!!
Eric cuts the limes to spritz on the bass dish.
Andre whisks the chocolate crumbs for the beet course. I know, I didn't think it went together either when I read it. But, it totally did!
Here's Martyna finishing that demo on the alternating bias cut for the vegetables.
Then she turns it over to the fellas!
John melts the chocolate for the milk chocolate glaze.
Peace out, yo.
Ed Pyle, everyone. Ed Pyle.
Martyna is explaining what to look for to know you're "done" whisking.
And there it is! Perfectly mixed.
The rice crispy cookies are done and are poured out onto the tray.
The cookies are smoothed out and refrigerated, waiting to be cut into ovals for the dessert course.
Conversing on the beet dish.
Almost ready to plate.
Halve those bok choys.
Soak the beets.
Al measures the cocoa powder.
What a beautiful kitchen.
All it takes to bring the "real" Ed out is a lens of any kind.
The peanut butter custard is spooned into the molds and frozen.
Dave Vogel prepares the herbs for the beet dish.
A pinch of salt for the quail!
Boil the cream for the chocolate glaze.
This was cool -- Eric showed us that a better way to peel ginger is to put away the big peeler and simply take a spoon -- small teaspoon is best, but a measuring spoon in this case -- and simply "scrape" it down the ginger and the skin comes right away!
Whisk in the cocoa.
Then the glaze.
Mike and Bill remove the sweetbreads from the veal stock.
Ready to stuff the quail.
Eric cooks up the baby bok choy.
Meanwhile the beets are ready.
And the plating begins!!
The assembly line.
Guest Bob Logiudice piped on the goat cheese mousse.
Bob Perrine sprinkles down some chocolate crumbs.
The finished product.
Beautiful! And excellent!!
The first course is served!
Andre explains the forst course.
Chef liked our work.
Chef Bucco and Jim chat awhile.
More baby bok choy is sautee'd.
Back to the sweetbreads to dry them off.
Rod studied the recipe a lot.
The plating crew awaits.
Bok choy sizzles.
Eric scored the green tea/salt mixture for a neat presentation.
Steamed sea bass is served!
With the wine Al selected.
Chef gave more good marks.
Omar strains the chocolate glaze.
Smiling Azzi has the vegetables well in hand.
The vegetables begin the quail dish.
Plating the quail.
Dave takes the quail after Jay and hands it to Jim for the broth.
Jim ladles broth into the dish with the quail.
The finished product. Brioche Stuffed Quail with Fall Harvest Vegetables and Thyme jus.
Meanwhile, Larry is cutting out the rice crispy cookies.
And Al glazes the peanut butter custard.
Talk about product placement!
Then we all enjoy the extra!
And I mean everyone......this was the best part. Everyone who walked by was like "oh, what's this?" Then someone mentioned "see that extra brioche croutons over there? Pour chocolate glaze on it!!!"
Seriously.....it was that good.
And a religion is born.
om nom nom.....
Rod pours the juices from the bags of veal cheeks into a saucepan for a sauce.
Mix the sweetbreads with Wondra and salt.
Bill whisks the polenta while Paul and Andre work the sweetbreads.
Paul checks on the sweetbreads. He's a master at this, having made it so much at home.
Mike checks out what's going on before making an addition to the polenta.
Doug and Mike add the creme fraiche and parmesan cheese.
Chef Bucco steps in and sees what's up.
Paul takes the sweetbreads and puts the on the wire rack for cooling.
Chef adds to the rack.
Some of the guys taking a breather.
More sweetbread action.
Meanwhile, at the chocolate station......
More friends are being made.
Al steps in for a sample.
This was the point where Al suggested the extra brioche + chocolate glaze = heaven.
Sweetbreads waiting to be plated.
Doug begins with the polenta.
A long shot of the plating of area.
Mike explains how the plating is going to go.
The finished plate in the middle is the example.
Alvaro waits to take plates to the dining room.
Bill puts the veal cheeks on a plate.
Veal Cheeks and Sweetbreads with Creamy Polenta and Broccoli Rabe
Peanut Butter and Chocolate. If any of you don't try this at home for a party, you're seriously missing out on something that people will be talking about for a long time.
Chef Bucco and Jay
The club presented Chef with a custom embroidered jacket.
We also showed our appreciation to Martyna for being a great host.
Jay got up and said some really nice things about the evening and our hosts.
Everyone had a fantastic time.
Hanging out, relaxing and preparing for a group shot!
Thank you Chef Bucco and Martyna for an outstanding time and taking time out of your lives and inviting us to cook at the Ryland Inn!