Flavor Forays gathered a stellar group of food and beverage executives and corporate chefs for our third annual Grits, Gullah and the Three o'Clock Dinner in Charleston February 12-14, 2018. The food was so amazing and the journey was so educational and inspirational from the Charleston Tea Plantation to BJ Dennis' Gullah lunch, it's hard to know where to begin.
Nanette Bedway's amazing photo album, generously sponsored by Bigelow Tea, will guide you through the charming cobblestone streets and into the kitchens of some of Charleston's finest chefs--Michael Toscano, Forrest Parker, Bob Cook, Jeremiah Bacon. We enjoyed libations from Striped Pig Distillery and Jack Rudy syrups and bitters from Brooks Reitz. We visited with farmer Pete Ambrose, Greg Johnsman at Geechie Boys mill, shrimper Cindy Tarvin, and Grow Food Carolina's Sara Clow. We feasted on oysters at Leon's Oyster and tomato pie and pimiento cheese at the Tomato Shed. But the piece de resistance was the oyster roast on Edisto Beach. Legendary Charleston chef Frank Lee came out of retirement to collaborate with chef Philip Bardin on an amazing low country dinner and oyster roast that still has everybody awestruck. Nobody left hungry.
Grits, Gullah, and the Three o'Clock Dinner, the third annual Flavor Foray in Charleston held February 12-14, 2018 was educational, inspirational, and a delicious good time.
Legendary Charleston chef Frank Lee came out of retirement to collaborate with chef Philip Bardin on an amazing low country dinner and oyster roast. We had tasty demos and samples from some of Charleston's finest chefs--Michael Toscano, Forrest Parker, Bob Cook, Jeremiah Bacon, BJ Dennis. And we enjoyed libations from Striped Pig Distillery and the syrups and bitters of Jack Rudy from Brooks Reitz. We visited with master tea taster Bill Hall at the Charleston Tea Plantation, farmer Pete Ambrose, Greg Johnsman at Geechie Boys mill, shrimper Cindy Tarvin, Grow Food Carolina's Sara Clow. How about those oysters at Leon's Oysters? And that tomato pie and pimiento cheese at the Tomato Shed?
This amazing photo and video album from Google's Scott Giambastiani is sure to make you hungry!
Wow! We've never seen a thank you note quite like this one. Leave it to Google. We just wrapped up our FlavorForays trip in Portland which took place October 16 to 18. It looks like the Google team enjoyed it. Theirs is not unlike a documentary of the whole experience. Thank you Google!
Flavor Forays is at it again.
This time we're visiting the burgeoning (and fabulous) food mecca that is beautiful Portland, Oregon.
Thank you to our sponsors and attendees!
For more information on Portland Portager produced by Flavor Forays, check out the flip book below.
Training in Italy is the real deal—even for a short time. Studying, living, and working in Italy enables chefs to think about food the way an Italian does.
For five days in late September, a group of food and beverage executives and American chefs, followed an intensive course at Gambero Rosso in Rome to check out the program developed by the May-Mei Culinary Academy founded by American restaurateur Tony May and Italian chefs/educators Sergio Mei and Bruno Libralon. Flavor Forays joined with Tony May to bring this group of hospitality kingpins to Rome.
Each morning we went to Gambero Rosso for Sergio Mei’s instruction in specific areas such as fish cookery, pasta and rice, meat, and desserts. We cooked such traditional dishes as vitello tonnato, veal Milanese, carbonara, risotto with porcini and were encouraged to add our own creative touches. In the afternoon, we visited producers and then in the evening returned to the school for more work in the kitchen.
The condensed program is geared to professionals who wish to learn or refresh their knowledge of Italian cooking techniques and products as well as the traditions and cultures of the Italian table. It promises them taste memories to carry back home.
In addition to our hands-on cooking, some of the most poignant taste memories were created by the passionate producers visited. Mauro Secondi held us enthralled at his Pastificio Secondi with his impassioned descriptions of the fresh artisanal pasta he produces. He literally had us eating raw samples of filled ravioli out of his hand and marveling at the bright orange yolks of the in-shell eggs he uses. Hint: the chickens are fed carrots and corn. He charmed us with stories about the origin of pasta; names such as “navel of Venus” and “priest stranglers.” He concluded with bear hugs for all. We had similar experiences with the producer of Le Pile olive oil and Vincenzo Mancino a dedicated local cheese monger. More taste memories were created in local restaurants where we were treated to variations on the theme of Rome’s classic trinity of pastas: cacio e pepe, carbonara, and bucatini all’amatriciana as well as roasted veal, fried squash blossoms, the freshest mozzarella, tomatoes and porchetta. And prosciutto di Parma aplenty. All washed down by vino red and white and the group’s favorite discovery limoncello. At Assunta Madre, which Tony May believes to be the best fish restaurant in Rome, we were greeted by a stunning display of freshly caught fish which in short order would be on our plates in a staggering variety of crudo of tuna, sea bass, shrimp, and transparent thinly sliced prawns as silky as butter. Cooked preparations followed and naturally, there were a couple of pasta courses. We were stuffed to the point of begging for mercy which arrived in the form of, what else?, limoncello.
Marisa May, Tony’s daughter, made sure we saw the sights of Rome as well and led us on late night crawls through Trastevere, Piazza Navona and Fiori di Campo where it was not out of the question to sample some pizza or gelato and, it goes without saying, limoncello.
For info about the Gambero Rosso program, visit https://www.may-mei.org/en/schools/#rosso. For more information and a 2017-2018 schedule of courses in various regions throughout Italy, visit www.maymei.org or www.may-meiitalianculinaryacademy.com. Tony May is also available for a personal phone appointment to provide more information
The Annual Championship BBQ & Cookout celebrated its 20th and it was bigger and better than ever.
Fourteen of Chicago’s top chefs faced off over grills on Sunday, May 21 at the Chicago Illuminating Company during the NRA show in Chicago. They fed close to a thousand of the industry’s leading chefs and operators. And it was all for a good cause-- World Central Kitchen, an international organization led by chef José Andrés, which uses its network of world-renowned chefs to find sustainable solutions to end world hunger and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, which distributes the equivalent of 160,000 meals daily.
Barbara Mathias, former Food Arts publisher, founded the event two decades ago and continues to produce it along with her colleague Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts. We were excited to welcome Food News Media, publisher of FSR and QSR magazines, as our media partner. You will be reading much deserved coverage for our amazing chefs both in their print publications and online.
Hats off to the roster of champion chefs who donated their time and talents: Tony Priolo, Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz, Jimmy Bannos, Marcos Ascencio, Marcos Flores, David Chapman and Joe Frillman, Christine Ciwoski and Josh Kulp, Aaron Lirette, James Lintleman, John Manion, John Coletta, Cory Morris, Martial Nougier, Derek Campbell.
And a big vote of thanks to all our sponsors: Ajinomoto Windsor, Beam Suntory, Bigelow Tea, Chefwear, Constellation Brands, Easy Ice, Fever-Tree, Frost 321, Hewlett Packard, Jade Range, Johnsonville, The Perfect Purée, Smithfield, Sterno Products, Sweet Street, Taylor Shellfish, Unilever Food Solutions, VerTerra.
Want to learn more about our extraordinary culinary adventures? Check out our latest e-book on Blurb.
Culture and cuisine--we sampled it all
What if you could time travel, all in one day, from a pre-Civil War sugar planter’s breakfast, to an authentic Cajun crawfish boil, to trendsetting seafood dishes from talented New Orleans chefs moving a traditional cuisine forward?
That’s exactly what a group of Marriott’s culinary, F&B, and event planning leaders did on our Flavor Foray “On the Bayou” April 20, 2017. No region takes their history and culture as seriously as Louisiana and we got a taste of it all.
The day began with a historical sugar planter’s breakfast on the grounds of White Oak Plantation & Farm, Chef John Folse’s catering facility housed in a majestic white columned mansion. Back in the day, folks went into the fields before the sun came up and then came in mid-day to eat their main meal.
In the early morning sunshine, we could smell bacon cooking every which way on a live fire station. If there’s a heaven, it’s that station full of bacon--Acadian bacon, cane syrup-candied bacon, whole smoked, brown-sugar cured ham, Cajun bacon, boudin, and creole sausages. Pain perdu, grillades and blue corn stone-ground grits, fluffy cathead biscuits, calas cakes, and eggs a la crème completed the feast.
From there, we ventured into the swamp on the Atchafalaya Princess led by Henderson mayor Sherbin Collette on his boat, the Crawfish King. We glided past majestic moss-draped cypress trees through mysterious waters where graceful egrets perch just out of reach of lurking alligators. There are plenty of crawfish in there too.
Just a stone’s throw down the road sits Crawfish Town USA, a restaurant and fresh market housed in an authentic barn from the 1900s. Here in the heart of Cajun country, it’s crawfish season and Chef Dustie Latiolais threw down a traditional crawfish boil on newspaper-covered tables under the trees. His restaurant peels about 10,000 pounds of crawfish every year. No crawfish boil would be complete without some beer and Bayou Teche Brewery obliged.
The past met the future in a grand finale celebrating Louisiana Seafood in Jackson Square’s historic Cabildo, an elegant baroque museum the was the seat of the Spanish colonial government in New Orleans.
Six of the Crescent city’s best chefs showcased the state’s seafood bounty from oysters, to blue crabs, to shrimp, to fin fish, and even gator. And we dined like royalty on their creations in the magnificent halls where Spanish grandees once ruled.
Nathan Richard (Cavan) invented Alligator “Turtle” Soup, that is to say, alligator soup cooked in the style of traditional New Orleans turtle soup. Chris Montero (Napoleon House) used both Gulf shrimp and jumbo lump crabmeat in his refreshing Louisiana Seafood Salad with local heirloom grape tomatoes, confit garlic and baby arugula. Aaron Burgau (Patois) put his own spin on oysters and dumplings with Louisiana Oyster Stew and Gnocchi chock full of fennel and leeks.
Tableau’s John Martin put a twist on traditional Oysters Bienville with his Crawfish Bienville which included shrimp, oysters, ham and bacon and served it on slices of French bread topped with shrimp and oyster mousse and fresh crawfish and finished with blue crab butter sauce. Cody and Samantha Carroll (Sac-a-Lait) gave their deviled crab a contemporary touch of drama with a house made saltine dyed black with squid ink. Carrollton Market’s Jason Goodenough turned to the fin fish category with his Yellowfin Tuna Hot Oil. “The sushi-grade tuna was sliced sashimi-style, dressed with soy and lemon juice and then splashed with screaming hot sesame oil to flash cook the outside of the slices while simultaneously making a vinaigrette on the plate a la minute,” Goodenough explains.
Louisiana is the nation’s second largest producer of seafood generating more than 856 million pounds each year and is the largest commercial fishery in the contiguous United States. No wonder there’s crab piled on top of so many entrees or iconic dishes overflowing with crab, shrimp, and oysters all at once.
Beam Suntory showcased some special libations that have not yet been released to the market including Makers 46 Private Select, Tyrconnell 16-year-old Irish Whiskey, Basil Hayden Rye, and Knob Creek 25th anniversary.
Post Script. It took another half a day to see a couple more things. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to an oyster house so why not stop in to visit with Sal Sunseri at P&J Oysters. NOLA Brewing Company stopped in too. And then cap the morning off with a Bloody Mary and cracklins (now that’s a pairing!) in the shaded courtyard of Lucullus, the venerable culinary antique store on Chartres Street filled with copper pots and endless other tabletop temptations.
And a vote of thanks to all our generous sponsors: Bigelow, Cardinal, Dannon, Jade, Juicero, Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
For more information, check out our video below.
We just finished a custom one and a half day Flavor Foray for Marriott culinary, f&b, and event leaders in the Bayou and New Orleans. Take a look at the flavor packed program here:
Check out our latest video welcoming guests and sponsors to our latest culinary excursion, Flavor Foray on the Bayou:
We're still talking about our second annual Grits, Gullah, & the Three o'Clock Dinner held in early February! A special thank you to all our guests, sponsors, and our very informative guide - the incomparable Matt Lee - for joining us as we experienced all of the lovely (and delicious) wonders of Charleston.
Beautiful scenery and weather combined with the best of low country food and friendship to make this one of our most memorable trips ever. Where to next? Follow us @flavorforays on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to find out more about upcoming culinary adventures planned for 2017-18.
Our team put together a video of all the fun. Check it out below. And remember:
Stir the Pots. Listen to the stories. This is Flavor Forays.
During our second annual Grits, Gullah, & the Three o'Clock Dinner, our team of hospitality professionals - chefs, F&B leaders, restaurateurs, and hoteliers - had a chance to stop by Fig in Charleston and talk with Chef Jason Stanhope about sustainable fishing, and just why it has to be delicious for it to work for the environment AND the bottom line.
You can find a quick taste of Fig and the Flavor Forays immersive experience in the video below.
For more on Chef Stanhope, check out Fig, and make sure to visit the next time you're in Charleston!
Follow us: @flavorforays on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A welcome to our Second Flavor Forays Annual Grits, Gullah, and the Three o'Clock Dinner in Charleston, held February 6-8, 2017.
The Annual Championship BBQ & Cookout is celebrating its 20th and we want to make it bigger and better than ever. The BBQ will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2017 during the NRA show in Chicago. This year it will be housed in the Chicago Illuminating Company, one of the city’s premier event spaces.
Barbara Mathias, former Food Arts publisher, founded the event two decades ago and is continuing to produce it along with her colleague Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts.
Great news! We’re excited to announce a partnership with Food News Media, publisher of FSR and QSR magazines, which will serve as co-host and send out invitations and spread the word. They will also follow up with stories both in print and online to provide much deserved coverage for our amazing chefs.
The Championship BBQ & Cookout is known to food industry insiders as a “must attend” high-powered networking event. You can tell those who ask that each year, the best chefs in Chicago face off over flames to feed up to 1,000 of the industry’s leading chefs and operators. It also attracts many high-quality sponsors integral to the event’s success.
As last year, we’re proud to announce that a portion of the proceeds will benefit World Central Kitchen, an international organization led by chef José Andrés, which uses its network of world-renowned chefs to find sustainable solutions to end world hunger. The BBQ will also benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank which distributes the equivalent of 160,000 meals daily.
Talented people feeding people—what we all do best.
Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board serves flood first responders at The Venue
10/21/2016 BY PETER PASQUA
ST. AMANT – The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board along with visiting chefs from across the country, AmeriCorps and local supporters such as Pontchartrain Blue Crab, Associated Grocers, and Chef John Folse gathered at The Venue last week to serve meals to the first responders who worked the devastating August flood of 2016.
The Venue served as headquarters for first responders following the flood and is currently the home of the St. Amant Fire Department after flood damage to their building.
Guests enjoyed fresh Louisiana seafood, Smithfield Hams, and other specialties prepared by visiting chefs from around the nation in celebration of National Seafood Month and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office provided a mobile cooking unit to assists with serving more than 200 meals.
Among those attending were Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley, Executive Director of Volunteer Ascension Judd Jeansonne and Executive Director of Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Karen Profita.
The gathering was part of a three-day tour in Louisiana called NOLA’s backyard that included executives from Walt Disney World, The Ritz-Carlton, and others who came to the state to learn about local cuisine. Activities included crabbing on Lake Pontchartrain and processing sugar at local mills.
You can check out the story here: http://www.thecreole.com/?p=65227
Our second annual NOLA's Backyard Flavor Foray started out with a delicious immersion in the Louisiana seafood industry. Gary Bauer of Ponchatrain Blue Crab took us out on his boat to catch crabs in the Lake, followed up with a tour of his processing plant and ended up with sumptuous buffet of crab every which way including the most spectacular deep fried soft shells. Chef John Folse, arranged two of them standing with claws intertwined for his "angry crab" or "Hallelujah" presentation. Bauer recalled that almost two decades ago he had taken his mother for a birthday dinner to Folse's original restaurant Lafitte's Landing in Donaldsonville and she eagerly devoured them. This story was the inspiration for Folse to repeat this dish for the f&b executives in our group. A local television reporter came along to document the crab story.
You can check out the story, here: http://wgno.com/2016/10/13/got-crabs-from-the-lake-to-your-plate/
F&B executives take inspiration from the food ways and folk ways of Louisiana Bayou country.
A group of food and beverage executives from major hotel and restaurant groups gathered in October for our second annual NOLA’s Backyard conference without classrooms. They heard the stories and met the characters, the farmers, the fishermen, the producers, and the cooks who make this one of the most colorful regions in the United States. They learned about the culinary contributions of the seven nations that created the modern day gumbo that makes Louisiana cuisine so exciting.
Sugah! Sugah! was the theme. They hit the cane fields, visited a sugar house, and followed the process from cane to candy. They were surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the cane harvest. They dined like the sugar barons on the grounds of Chef John Folse’s White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, a Greek Revival mansion on sweeping manicured grounds graced with massive oaks.
Chef John Folse, a raconteur par excellence and an expert on Louisiana history, led the road trip through the Bayous.
Chicago Chef Takes Top Prize
By Tricia Contreras, June 07, 2016.
Chef Jason Paskewitz of Chicago’s The Blanchard beat out a dozen other chefs to win first place in the 19th annual Championship BBQ and Cookout in Chicago last month. The event drew more than 800 restaurant, food service and hospitality professionals to Galleria Marchetti on May 22 to sample barbecue dishes and cocktails from participating chefs and bartenders and support World Central Kitchen, an international organization founded by chef Jose Andres to seek smart solutions to end hunger and poverty.
Paskewitz presented grilled duck sausage with foie gras mustard and onion confit on a brioche bun. “It’s indicative of what I do at The Blanchard. It’s a French restaurant, so I had to get some foie gras in there,” he said.
Duck may not be common barbecue fare, but this is the second year in a row that the Championship BBQ and Cookout judging panel awarded a chef for taking a risk with an unusual protein. Last year’s winner, Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz of Burnt End BBQ in Kansas, impressed the judges with a dish of rabbit.
Second place went to chef Cory Morris of Rural Society for his short rib with elote garnish and white barbecue sauce. Also a winner that evening was Unilever Food Solutions, which took home the honor of best table design. The tablescape was “fashioned after a roadside grill as a fictional customer on the company’s Burger Route,” Senior Channel Marketing Manager Jen Rosman said. “We wanted to highlight, if you were a fast casual restaurant, this is what it could look like in your restaurant.”
This year’s BBQ was held in honor of Michael Batterberry, founder of Food Arts and Food and Wine magazines. “We are proud to produce this world class event, spotlighting the tremendous culinary talent in Chicago,” said Barbara Mathias, event organizer and former publisher of Food Arts magazine. “We are equally proud to be able to bring together this community of the restaurant industry and suppliers, and to support such a worthy charity. We are looking forward to our 20th celebration next May!”
SmartBrief is the media sponsor of the Championship BBQ and Cookout.