Monday, November 14, 2005

Chefs and Chiefs

On Saturday night, I attended my second black tie event in less than two weeks. (A sign of the apocalypse?) This time it was a result of Warren’s work, but luckily Warren’s work environment is much more laid back than mine!

We attended the annual Chefs and Chiefs fundraiser for Chucalissa. The fundraiser includes a five course meal (consisting of native foods) prepared by some of the finest chefs in Memphis and a silent auction. Chefs and Chiefs is an alternative to Thanksgiving--As Warren’s bosses’ wife most astutely pointed out, “Most Native Americans aren’t too thankful around Thanksgiving.” The tickets are a little pricey, but you definitely get your money’s worth and it is definitely for a good cause.

Last year Chefs and Chiefs was at Chez Phillipe in the Peabody Hotel. The food was amazing, the wine even better, and we had a blast. The only things that sucked was that I went a little crazy on the silent auction, we had to pick up the kids at 9:30pm, and then go to work next day.

This year, Chefs and Chiefs was on a Saturday and the kids went to spend the night with Katy. My mom gave me a black dress out of her closet that fit perfectly and I wore the green Thai silk shawl I bought last year for the event (but didn’t get to wear due to mail issues), and nice black heels that actually fit. Warren wore his suit from Flashback, a pink button down and his skinny silver tie.

We looked hot. Well Warren definitely looked hot. I looked kind of silly because unbeknownst to me, my slip was hanging about three inches below my hemline!(But an old professor of mine who was there--and a little drunk--did actually say, "I remembered you being bright, but I forgot how beautiful you are." Or something. Did I mention she was drunk?)

This year the dinner was at River Terrace, right on the river, and featured five outstanding chefs. We sat at a table with a few of warren's co-workers and their family members. I especially enjoyed talking to a man named Brian, who apparently graduated one year behind me at White Station. He has two little girls and was just too cute (in a "What a cute dad" kind of way), I could hardly stand it. "Sometimes when I drop the girls off at achool, I can't help but cry a little..." he said. (I didn't get to hear the rest because I was summoned to smoke outside by an old smoking buddy.)

Anyway, here’s what we ate:

An abundance of delectable Hors d’ouvres featuring New World foods
Chef Scott DeLarme

I only saw one tray of appetizers that was full of little toasts piled high with salmon and some other stuff. I ate half of one between sips of champagne and gave the rest to Warren.

Hickory Smoked Ruby Red Trout Filet with a Succotash and Crab Salad
Chef Chris Miller

When this came to the table I had to look at the menu to figure out what it was. The fish was so pink it looked like beef, especially since it was wrapped around the crab salad. It was absolutely delicious. I could have eaten everyone’s.

Grilled Bobwhite Quail over Wild Rice Pudding with Roasted Shallot Relish and Tarragon Demi-Glace
Chef Jennifer Dickerson

The only time I ever ate quail was out of my high school boyfriend’s freezer. (Yes, he was a hunter.) Let’s just say that this tasted nothing like that. Everyone at the table was sort of moaning with delight as they ate this. I tried to be all ladylike about it so I didn’t enjoy it as much as the folks (i.e. Warren) who just picked up the tiny bones and sucked off the meat.

Ragout of Venison with Butternut Squash, Root Vegetables, Winter Wheat, and Elderberries
Chef Scott Lenhart

The only time I ever ate venison is when we put it in the chili at the Rhodes College soup kitchen in 1994. (A hunter donated it to us.) Again, this was nothing like that. It really tasted a lot like beef and was just yum-my. The people at the table again we moaning, but this time they seemed to be moaning about the fact that they didn’t have any room left in their stomachs to eat this course. Warren and I had plenty of room and we made “happy plates” like good parents out on the town.

Molten Chocolate Cake with Cranberry Mousse Tower and Sweet Potato Ganache
Chef Ryan Luttrell

I was waiting for this course all night and was not disappointed. Ryan Luttrell needs to come live with me! Ok, not really. The molten chocolate cake basically looked like a muffin, but it was hard (in a good way) and when you got to the middle, yummy chocolate sauce poured out. So. Good. The cranberry mousse tower was like a cylinder of ice cream almost and had a piece of chocolate coated with gold stars stuck in it. Yum. Again some of the lightweights at the table complained they had no room, but Warren and I cleaned our plates again. Mmmmmmmmolten chocolate!

The event seemed to be over before it started. I looked at my place setting and realized I had four glasses of wine sitting there. The food came so fast I didn’t get a chance to get drunk dammit! But I also didn’t get a chance to bid on anything in the silent auction, which was good.

I am really in love with this event and may need to get on the tasting, er, I mean, planning committee for next year.

I want to make Chefs and Chiefs and the Freedom Awards regular occurrences in my life.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I just realized how long it's been since I had a really good, fancy meal. That was a wonderfully detailed account, but where is a picture of the hot couple?

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