Food, Wine & Autumn in NY

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On October 2nd I was lucky enough to attend the StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress (ICC) in New York City. ICC is an amazing professional culinary show that includes three days of the latest trends, techniques and concepts, presented by some of the world’s leading chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers.

The first night that I arrived I ate dinner at Chef Mario Batali’s Spanish tapas inspired restaurant, Casa Mono, where without a doubt the highlight of my meal was the razor clams cooked à la planche with garlic and herbs.

In the morning I attended a workshop with Chef Jonathan Benno featuring an amazing Baby Pork Belly and Octopus Terrine. In the evening I met up with an old friend from the Four Seasons Hotel who is now living in Brooklyn. He invited me out with a group of his friends for dinner. They have a really awesome weekly tradition – get together, pick a different restaurant, and order and eat the whole menu. I was honoured that they let me pick the restaurant, Ssam Bar from the David Chang group. 

Day 2 in New York City I attended a seminar that was hosted by Chef Massimo Bottura, who has been awarded two Michelin stars and placed 6th on Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. That night I visited the Mario Batali owned Eataly. If you are going to be visiting New York, I highly recommend that you stop in at Eataly. It is an amazing concept – food, wine, restaurants, supermarket, artisans - all Italian, all under one roof. I ate in one of the restaurants inside, Il Pesces, that serves only the freshest fish, oysters, and sea urchin – just to name a few! I cannot say enough good things about the sea urchin that I had. It was drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and Fleur de Sel and paired with Prosecco. Amazing.

Without a doubt, the highlight of my experience in New York was on the third day when I attended a seminar with Angel Leon, who is currently working with a university in Spain to develop a method of harvesting plankton. Plankton is how fish fill up on Omega 3 fatty acids, which is an extremely healthy form of Fat. By harvesting and dehydrating the plankton, they have been able to use it as a nutritious alternative to other fats (for example, where you would use butter). Very interesting and forward thinking stuff!

My last night was a great one. It started with the ICC gala and awards ceremony. Dinner was again at Eataly in Birreria where I was lucky enough to dine with friends from the Chef’s Garden and the cast of Top Chef All Stars!

I really enjoyed my time at ICC and learned many new tips and tricks that I cannot wait to bring to the Sonora kitchens. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements about cooking classes, guest chefs and more! 

- Terry Pichor
Executive Chef