Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Owen Clarke and Bedell Cellars - A Perfect Match at James Beard House

Owen Clark of Gwynnett St., Brooklyn, NY. Venture to Brooklyn’s fine-dining frontier and you’ll be rewarded with the exhilarating cuisine of Gwynnett St., which led the New York Times to include the property on its list of 2012’s best new restaurants. We’d wager that chef Owen Clark, formerly of wd~50 and Blue Hill, had something to do with that.

Owen Clark has cooked in New York City for seven years. Hailing from Colorado he was exposed to the fishing, hunting, and outdoor activities the state is famous for. Owen became familiar with many wild edibles, learning to forage he developed a true feel for the seasons. Starting his culinary career in a family style Italian restaurant, he decided to enter a culinary program in Boulder at the Culinary School of the Rockies. The degree helped him land an apprenticeship in the elite Michelin 2-starred “L’Oustau d’Baumaniere” in Les Baux- de- Provence, France. Owen then earned another apprenticeship in Europe at The Fat Duck in Bray, England. The restaurant was rated the “Best in the World” by Restaurant Magazine. From there he was invited to cook at WD-50 in New York City‘s Lower East Side. He spent two years rising through the ranks and learning more than he ever thought possible about flavor pairings, technique, and modern styles of cuisine. After leaving WD50, Owen was attracted to Blue Hill restaurant for its seasonality and emphasis on sustainable ingredients. He worked for two years with Dan Barber, a James Beard award winner and one of Time Magazine’s 50 most influential people for 2009. Owen started as Sous Chef on the opening team, then proceeding Mr. Hilbert, Owen is finally into his own Executive position.
Food matters. You are what you eat not only because food is nutrition, but also because food is an integral part of our everyday lives. Food is economics, politics, entertainment, culture, fashion, family, passion...and nourishment. The James Beard Foundation (a not-for-profit organization) is at the center of America's culinary community, dedicated to exploring the way food enriches our lives.
A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by offering a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of our culinary culture. These programs include educational initiatives, food industry awards, an annual national food conference, Leadership Awards program, culinary scholarships, and publications. In addition to maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs, the Foundation has created a robust online community, and hosts conferences, tastings, lectures, workshops, and food-related art exhibits in New York City and around the country.
I had the extreme pleasure of publishing a five volume set of completely revised James Beard's cookbooks in association with the James Beard Foundation and with Julia Child as our executive series editor. He was a great man who helped make food more than just sustenance in the United States. Anointed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, James Beard laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program on the fledgling medium of television in 1946, the first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine, and an early champion of local products and markets. Beard nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way we eat.
Unfortunately, I did not attend the event. Previous obligations pulled me in another direction. But I cannot stress enough how exposure of New York  state's wines in places like the James Beard House on a more consistent basis would be a huge selling point for our wines. The JBF is the perfect place to showcase the finest wines of New York state. he people who eat at these dinners are among the influence makers in the city. And being poured at James Beard Foundation is absolutely the pinnacle of success. Congrats to the folks from Bedell, especially winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich.

Hors d’Oeuvre
Warm Maple-Cured Egg Yolks with Guanciale and Hokkaido Black Bread
Fingerling Potatoes with Jonah Crab, Fresno Chiles, Mint, and Crab Emulsion
Ocean Trout Tartare with Cucumbers, Sorrel, and Zucchini​

Chilled Country Ham Consommé with Roasted Cantaloupe Sorbet and Summer Melons

Heirloom Radish–Wild Greens Salad with Pickled Cherries
Wild Striped Bass with Artichokes, Sunflower Seed Purée, Pearled Barley, and Sunflower Sprouts

Bavette Steak with Grilled Summer Squashes, Anchovies, and Eggplant

Lime Curd with Woodruff Angel Food Cake, Blackberries, and Corn Sorbet