***A bit of blogkeeping: Random.org has selected the winners of the Fashion Week Cleveland giveaway: Nidhizzle S won 2 tickets to GlamJam and Amy won 2 VIP tickets to the Runway Shows. Congrats! Please contact me at email@example.com by Sunday, April 22. If I don’t hear from you, new winner(s) will be drawn.***
Spring has definitely sprung! On Wednesday night, Emerging Chefs celebrated the fresh tastes of spring with a Garden Party at AMP 150. Guests were treated to five delicious courses, filled with locally-sourced and super-fresh ingredients.
Prior to Chef Jeff Jarrett’s portion of the menu, we got a little “pig plate” sampler, prepared by Chef Melissa Khoury.
Chef Khoury will be heading up the next Emerging Chefs event, an all-pig bonanza called Snout to Tail. Snout to Tail is on May 24 at 6pm at Dunham Tavern and, if the sampler we tried is any indication, it will be a tasty evening! Tickets are $65.
Our first Garden Party course was spring pea soup, with ramp creme fraiche, lemon oil, and pea tendrils.
The soup by itself was great – creamy, slightly frothy texture and bursting with fresh pea flavor. The lemon oil and ramp creme fraiche gave the dish the complexity and depth of flavors that left me wanting more.
Next up was a mushroom mousse made with Killibuck Valley mushrooms, topped with a fennel cherry compote and served with grilled artisan bread from Blackbird Baking Company in Lakewood.
The mousse was whipped and airy like a dessert, but with all the great earthy flavor of mushrooms. The fennel and cherry compote added a nice spice and tang to the dish. I had to restrain myself from licking the plate.
As we were enjoying our courses, Chef Jarrett came around to explain the dishes.
We also got to hear from Jeremy Lissy of KJ Greens in Andover, Ohio, where much of the produce for our Garden Party dinner was sourced. Jeremy explained about different types of mushrooms, how to pick your own ramps, how he got his start as a chef, then as a farmer growing micro greens, and more. It was great to know not only that the food was locally-grown, but to also meet the man behind it!
Our third course was goat cheese gnocchi, with pork belly croutons, shaved asparagus, fig jam and pepper cress.
The gnocchi were tender, with a subtle flavor of goat cheese. The pork belly croutons were a bit smoky for my taste and tended to overpower the goat cheese in the bites I had together. The asparagus and fig jam complimented the gnocchi well and the pepper cress added a nice bite and texture to the dish.
Next up was lamb sous vide, served on top of farro with peas, mashed cauliflower, and truffle oil.
The lamb was perfectly cooked and had been well-seasoned with thyme. The farro and peas made a hearty and fresh compliment and I could have easily eaten a bowl of just that. My palate couldn’t detect much truffle oil, but I have no complaints at all about this dish.
Finally, our dessert: a baked apple barley pudding with Snowville creme anglaise, topped with a cinnamon tuile.
Chef Jarrett made a dessert that still left you feeling somewhat healthy after you ate it! The creme anglaise and apples were a divine combination. I’m pretty sure I’ve never had barley in a dessert before, but it was really quite good.
I did miss the usual Emerging Chefs wine/cocktail pairings with the courses. The AMP 150 bar was open on a cash basis for the dinner. While I was fortunate enough to have a media pass to the event, the cost of drinks added a bit more than expected to the ticket price for Matthew. Also, while AMP 150 has a great atmosphere, the Garden Party theme was not carried through in the room with the usual Emerging Chefs flair.
All in all, though, every course was jam-packed with fresh, fantastic ingredients. There really is nothing like locally-grown food. Plus, I don’t know that I’ve ever been at a meal where everyone ate and enjoyed all their vegetables! Kudos to Chef Jarrett and AMP 150 for a great meal!
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend Emerging Chefs Garden Party with a media pass. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***