Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dave McIntyre: Chef Peter Chang and Virginia wines

Chef Peter Chang and Virginia wines: a shared moment in the spotlight
By Dave McIntyre, Published: January 24
Washington Post

Peter Chang is hitting the road again, and he’s taking Virginia wine with him.

The famously peripatetic chef, said to serve some of the best Chinese food in the country, will prepare a banquet to celebrate the start of the Year of the Dragon on Monday at the James Beard House in Manhattan.

A Beard House dinner before the glitterati of the New York food scene is an important milestone for chefs seeking national prominence. Chang’s appearance has been so highly anticipated that the Jan. 30 dinner sold out two weeks in advance; it falls during the two weeks that lead up to the Lantern Festival of the Chinese New Year.

Also on the marquee: Andy Reagan, winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards, who will tackle the challenging task of pairing wines with Chang’s spicy Sichuan cuisine.

Why Virginia wines? “Because we are from Virginia, and they make good wines here,” says Gen Lee, Chang’s business partner at Peter Chang’s China Grill in Charlottesville and a new restaurant, Peter Chang Cafe, set to open next month in downtown Richmond. Lee says he chose Jefferson because of its history. Parts of the winery’s vineyards near Monticello are on the same site where Thomas Jefferson planted European grape varieties. But the choice also sends a message that the famously migratory Chang is, at last, planning to settle down and call Virginia home.

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