The man who invented snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream last night wowed American diners with another of his singular inventions – seafood together with an iPod loaded with the sound of crashing waves.
Top British chef Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Sound of the Sea’ won the biggest applause at the US$5000 a head fundraising dinner to mark the 20th anniversay of Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago on Sunday night.
The 80 guests were treated to an eight-course meal cooked by seven of the world’s greatest chefs including Trotter himself. In addition to Blumenthal (pictured) who runs the three Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, UK, the lineup included Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in Yountville, California, Daniel Boulud of Daniel’s in New York, Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain, Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya’s in Sydney and top French pastry chef Pierre Hermé.
For the Blumenthal dish – oysters, razor clams, sea-urchin and three different kinds of seaweed served with an oyster juice and clam stock-based foam, along with ‘edible sand’ made from tapioca and blitzed ice cream cones – the credit card-sized iPods were brought to the table concealed in large conch shells.
Wearing headphones, guests ate to the sound of waves on a seashore.
Other dishes included Trotter’s own ‘Four Heirloom tomatoes and Four organs’ – a selection of different veal offal, and Boulud’s dish of wild Scottish grouse ‘Cromesquis’ with parsnips, Anjou pears and sauce Grand Veneur-Cassis.
Although not listed in the description, Boulud’s dish contained foie gras, which Trotter himself stopped using in 2005, after Chicago became the first American city to ban its sale and production.
‘Someone has to bring foie gras back to Chicago,’ Boulud – who is renowned for his foie-gras filled DB burger – said. He added, ‘But this is the one and only occasion.’
The only dish that got the thumbs down from the wealthy diners was an off-the-wall dessert from Pierre Hermé which included popcorn, mint and English peas.
Matching wines for the dinner were provided by Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon, who had supplied Trotter’s first wine dinner in 1987. They included a methusaleh of Le Cigare Volant 1987 and a 1992 Estate Syrah from Monterey.
Other wines included a 1995 Musigny from Comte Georges de Vogue, a 1989 Chateau Lafite and a1996 Tertre Roteboeuf
There were tributes to Trotter from former employees including ex-sommelier Larry Stone, and chef David Myers of Sona in Los Angeles. The US$250,000 raised by the benefit will go to The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation.
More pics and details at Fiona Beckett’s website www.matchingfoodandwine.com
Written by Fiona Beckett in Chicago