June 6, 2024

Chef’s Dinner at Culinary Crafts


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Question: What do you get when you give Culinary Crafts chefs license to make anything they want?

Answer: Magic!

We held this special Chef’s Dinner event in our own Pleasant Grove kitchen so that diners would have a ring-side seat to see innovation and culinary creativity conjured right before their eyes.

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A foyer full of playful smoke and bubbles set the mood for an evening of adventure and fun. As guests met and mingled, they were treated to bubbly champagne with smoked trout and caviar hors d’oeuvres.

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Meanwhile, in the kitchen our chefs were already hard at work concocting something truly special.

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Our youngest chef, Haylie, prepared a unique appetizer of cotton candy foie gras.

Everyone knows that fats and sweets pair well. (That’s why so many desserts contain both butter and sugar.) But recent food trends blur the lines between savory and sweet. In Haylie’s dish, the richness of goose liver and sautéed butter received a boost from the sweetness of cotton candy. We paired it with an excellent Sainte-Croix-du-Mont (usually a dessert wine) which helped to balance the savory foie gras.

At first, guests were amused at the cute and playful idea. But when they tried it, they were shocked at how well the ingredients combined.

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With the magic of molecular gastronomy, we turned a classic margarita into a spherified cocktail you can eat off a spoon! A sprinkle of Tajin gave it an extra kick.

We served it with a tasty bite of scallop ceviche.

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First Course

The first course of the chef's dinner took a traditional French terrine and broke all the rules. Instead of the typical meat filling, our chef used radishes fresh out of the ground. Raw radishes can taste sharp, but the butter and salt of the terrine slowed down their bite. Cut thick and served on rustic artisan bread straight from our bakery (with a crackling outside and chewy middle), it had guests begging for more.

The wine we paired it with needed to be acidic enough to cut through the butter, so we served our Culinary Crafts Albion White, bottled in Park City by Old Town Cellars.

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The next course took “salad” to a whole new level. Petite frisée lardon nest—translation: a little curly nest of bacon with poached eggs, local micro greens, and a house-made vinaigrette. Diners refreshed their palates with our Culinary Crafts Towers Rosé or nonalcoholic Zilch Brut Rosé. roasted carrot, creme fraiche, squid ink tapioca

Third Course

This intriguing bite was roasted carrot and crème fraîche on a squid ink tapioca cracker. We paired it with Elusive Chardonnay from Park City’s Old Town Cellars. Diners had an option of a non-alcoholic Waterbrook Chardonnay.

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Fourth Course

Porcini donut on raclette foam paired with an edible negroni made with Madam Pattirini Gin from Ogden’s Own distillery.

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Fifth Course

The togarashi-seasoned ahi tuna was delicious in its own right, but the real star of this course was the Sakura Cha (Japanese Green Tea), featuring local spirits Tsuku Saki and Holystone Tsunami Shochu.

Owner Ryan Crafts—a mixologist who has won a Catie Award for his cocktail creations—developed this unique cocktail with jasmine blossoms, salt-cured cherry blossoms, pears, and grapefruits. The glass porthole canteens made eye-catching table decorations until it was time to pour in the drink and start the infusion process. Guests watched the blossoms gracefully unfurl and the tea slowly turn a delicate pink.

It was a vivid reminder that we eat and drink with our eyes first.

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After a rich dish, nothing cleanses the palate like a buzz button. These tropical blossoms, also known as Szechuan flowers or electric daisies, have a peculiar effect when you pop one in your mouth. As Chef Brandon, our Culinary Director, explained to guests as he passed them out, buzz buttons will make your mouth tingle and your salivary glands go nuts! All that saliva will cleanse your palate in no time.

But be careful. Buzz buttons can leave your whole mouth numb if you overdo it. Half a blossom is plenty.

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Sixth Course

Next, Chef Hunter served up a Five Spice MacFarlane Pheasant. Pheasant has a particularly robust flavor, and wild pheasant can taste gamey, but Chef Hunter chose farm-raised pheasant and prepared it with a strong blend of spices that smoothed out the taste.

We were excited to pair this dish with a pinot noir from Old Town Cellars in Park City. The pinot is a lovely wine, but we seldom get to use it with poultry dishes because it would overpower something like chicken. Hunter’s pheasant was an ideal paring because it held its own.

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Seventh Course

Next up came pink peppercorn prime flat iron steak, served with succotash and paired with Park City’s Old Town Cellars Outlaw Reserve Cabernet / Waterbrook Cabernet.

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After so many bold flavors, we wanted to wind the meal down with a light treat that wasn’t overly sweet. This blood orange tart was a citrus mousse in a classic tart shell, with subtly sweet whipped cream. Paired with Château Rieussec Sauternes 2016 , it was our co-owner Ryan’s favorite course of the whole chef's dinner.

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Cheese and Sodas

We love to highlight the best products for local producers whenever we can, and this cheese tasting comprised three cheeses made by Beehive Cheese in Ogden, Utah. Paired with three local sodas, they made a delicious interlude between dessert courses.

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Dessert Reprise

Then (since one dessert is never enough) we surprised guests with one more bite. This opera cake eclair, coffee pastry cream, and chocolate ganache was served with a milk-washed antrim cocktail made with Josephine Eau de Vie from Pleasant Grove’s only distillery, Clear Water. A milk-washed mulled cider from Utah’s Rowley's Red Barn Farms was the non-alcoholic alternative.

To commemorate this Chef’s Dinner event, we gave each guest a custom cutting board engraved with the evening’s menu. Hopefully, every time they use it in their own kitchen it will serve as an inspiration to experiment in the kitchen, have fun with food, and share the joy of hospitality.

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