Hotel Online  Special Report

Four Chefs From National Trust Historic Hotels
of America Collaborate on Dinner at 
New York's James Beard House


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 16, 2005 - Four chefs from National Trust Historic Hotels of America will collaborate on a dinner at New York's prestigious James Beard House on March 3, 2005. With the theme of "History is Hot," each chef will contribute a course to the gourmet meal. Wines will be provided by Stoller and Chehalem from Oregon's Willamette Valley. The dinner will be presented in the Greenwich Village townhouse where culinarian and "dean of American cooking" James Beard once lived.

"Culinary traditions are another way to experience our culture and history," said Thierry Roch, executive director of Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "These talented chefs have assembled a menu that showcases outstanding American cuisine focusing on regional flavors."

The chefs focused on using local and regional products that go hand-in-hand with their vast experiences when designing the menu.

The Sterling caviar served in the hors d'oeuvre prepared by Executive Chef Terry Sheehan from The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park, Calif., comes from Stolt Sea Farm in Calif., one of the only American producers of premium farm-raised, sustainable sturgeon caviar. Near the end of the 1800s, Atlantic sturgeon on the East Coast and white sturgeon on the West Coast of North America were discovered to have a roe quality comparable to Russian sturgeons. During that time these two species were commercially harvested in such vigor that the resource was all but destroyed. There was so much caviar being produced that bars would serve the salty delicacy to encourage more beer drinking, just as popcorn and peanuts are served today. The venison in the venison loin chop forestiere comes from a co-op of venison producers in Oregon. Venison has less than 2% fat and about half the calories of beef. The stone fruits in this dish come from California's Central Valley-the nation's leading producer. Sheehan's venison dish will be featured on the dinner menu at The Ahwahnee dining room from March 14-31.

Executive Chef Christian Kelly from Clifton in Charlottesville, Va., grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York which also had a garden full of vegetables. Cooking was a family affair with his grandmother teaching Kelly what to do with the harvest. Turnip soup was one of the things that she taught him to make-he still uses the recipe today. His family still jokes that while other children were buying comics and storybooks at school book fairs Christian brought home cookbooks which are still part of his collection. Growing up in New York and cooking for years in San Francisco, it took Chef Kelly a while to understand the importance of Virginia country ham on southern menus. He adds interesting twists to this staple-combining this regional ingredient while adding his own touch. A sneak peak at the menu will be offered at the inn's culinary weekend, February 25-27.

Executive Chef Philippe Chin from The Partridge Inn in Augusta, Ga., delights in combining the traditional flavors of his Asian heritage with the distinctly southern influences of his Augusta home. An avid fisherman, Chin often looks to the southern coastal regions for inspiration. His whimsical approach is evident in the sweet Edisto Island shrimp lollipops. Fresh-from-the-boat shrimp are peeled and diced, then mixed with homemade shrimp stock to make a mousse. For the final touch, Chin skewers a bite with a piece of sugar cane to create the lollipop effect.

For his second course, Chin incorporates a true southern staple-the pecan. With his seared Hamachi carpaccio, Chin takes a traditional Japanese fish and nestles it on a bed of sweet southern comfort. Hamachi, or Japanese yellow-tailed tuna, is seared just to bring out the flavor and plated atop a southern succotash salad with ginger-candied pecans. The pecans are grown just outside of Augusta on Wade Plantation.

During a few weeks each year (from mid-February to mid-April), the New Hampshire maple industry produces close to 90,000 gallons of maple syrup. The maple panna cotta was created by Wentworth By the Sea Pastry Chef Perrie Purcell to showcase this seasonal New Hampshire treat. Chef Purcell uses maple syrup produced in Littleton, N.H. by McClure's, one of hundred of traditional maple sugar producers. Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa will feature Chef Purcell's Maple Panna Cotta on the Wentworth Dining Room dessert menu throughout the month of March.

New Hampshire's tiny 18-mile Atlantic coastline is home to lobsters as delicious and versatile as their more famous northern neighbors. The lobsters served at Wentworth By the Sea Hotel are caught by New Hampshire lobsterman and delivered-when weather permits-directly to the docks of the Wentworth Marina adjacent to the hotel. The morels featured in Chef Daniel Dumont's hors d'oeuvre are foraged by local New Hampshire mushroom experts. Morels are a classic sign of spring in New England.

The March 3 event is the sixth in a series of Historic Hotels of America dinners at the James Beard House.

Teacher, television personality, food writer and author of more than 20 cookbooks, James Beard championed good food and great chefs. The James Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1986 by Julia Child and the late Peter Kump, and now offers chefs from around the world a place to perform. The foundation strives to preserve America's culinary heritage by showcasing chefs, offering food and wine programs and providing scholarships in the culinary arts.

The James Beard Foundation "History is Hot" dinner is Thursday, March 3, 2005, at 7:00 pm. Cost is $90 (members) and $115 (non-members). Reservations can be made by calling 212-627-2308.

Historic Hotels of America is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Historic Hotels has identified more than 200 hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance. To be selected for this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or recognized as having historic significance.

Mary Billingsley
Historic Hotels of America
National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington DC  20036
Telephone: 202-588-6061
Fax: 202-588-6292
Also See: Financial Audit at James Beard Foundation Concludes Former President Len Pickell Engaged in Improper Use of Foundation Assets for Personal Benefit / December 2004
Chefs from Kessler Collection of Grand Theme Hotels Presenting A Taste of Florida Menu at the James Beard House / June 2003
Four Chefs from National Trust Historic Hotels of America Assemble American Cuisine Menu for James Beard House / Feb 2002

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