The theme of this party was “Out of This World”. What was initially an intimidating theme (space food?) turned out to be pretty awesome.
The main buffet was “Third Rock From The Sun: A Tasting of Earth’s Animals and Plants From Land and Sea”. It featured Summer Rolls, Tempura California Rolls, Oysters, Shrimp, Crab Claws, Petit Beef Short Rib Pot Pies, Chicken Kabobs and Beef Tenderloin Sliders among other items.
The Babelfish from “Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy” was paid proper homage in the form of an ice carving by the very talented Lydia Ross. It is pictured in the center of the buffet, along with the seafood items.
Outside of the main buffet, there were various “Space Stations” featuring different themes. The first was the “Tang Tasting” station, featuring a trio of selections which highlighted the Apollo mission’s gift to gastronomy.
Vanilla Cured Foie Gras Torchon with Grand Marnier Sabayon, Tang Caviar, Raisin
Spice Bread Crostini
Tang Smoothies with Truffled Honey Cream, Citrus and Pineapple
Tang “Push Ups”: Tang-flavored frozen yogurt, made on the station using a Paco Jet. The flavor was reminiscent of a Dreamsicle.
The next station was called “Future Foods”, featuring hors d’oeuvres prepared using contemporary techniques (bonding, cryovac, immersion circulation).
Duck, Foie Gras, Dried Fruit and Chestnut Roulade, wrapped in bacon and cooked sous vide on the station. The roulades were crisped in a saute pan before slicing. They were served with a Truffled-Port Demi.
Tuna and Compressed Watermelon Poke with Wakame Salad, Soy Reduction, Rice Crisp
Compressed Summer Melon with Arugula, Peach Vinaigrette, Crumbled Goat Cheese
The next station, my favorite, was the work of Mathew Tilman. It was called the “Mars Bar”, and featured a selection of gastro-cocktails.
“Unbloody Mary”: Gelatin Clarified Bloody Mary with Pickled Ramp and Okra
“Bourbon and Coke”: Coca-Cola Gelee with bourbon, Marischino Cherries and Textura’s Fizzy
“Pina Colada”: Compressed and grilled pineapple with rum espuma, coconut flakes (pictured being skewered)
Other stations that evening included a Southwest inspired “Area 51”, and an outstanding pastry display by Chef Bill Hallion and his team.
In the midst of long weeks and high stress, it’s easy to sometimes forget why a person would enter this field. A night like this, though, where you get to stretch out creatively and have fun with the food brings you back to those first days of cooking. Having no walls in between yourself and the people enjoying the food is another added bonus.