(Originally published on August 28, 2015 on Examiner.com)
Thursday night on a closed off Grand Avenue in front of the Disney Concert Hall, the 5th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival 2015 presented as its opening night event “Ultimates Bites of L.A.” This event featured bites from many of L.A.’s top chefs as well as bites from several of the other celebrity chefs participating in the activities over the next few days.
One of the chefs participating from Los Angeles was Chef Curtis Stone of Maude, who had his CDC Gareth Evans help him prepare and join him for this event. Both Curtis and Gareth took a little time to describe their “Ultimate Bite” they prepared for the evening’s event.
LAC: What is the name of the dish?
CS: Scottish style Pork Pie, mustard, pickled and roasted vegetables, chicharones
LAC: When was it put on your menu? Or is this dish on your menu?
CS: This is just for tonight, though made with a passion fruit gel that we filled the pie with so this is in anticipation of the next month’s ingredient at Maude which is passion fruit.
LAC: What is the inspiration or precedent for the dish
CS: Doing something achievable for cooking for 2,200 people that is delicious, room temperature, and still be really fantastic. So we started there. Something appropriate for the event.
LAC: What’s your preferred sourcing for key components, plus are ingredients seasonal?
CS: We used both pork and bacon.
GE: We used a Benton’s smoked ham from Virginia and Nueskes bacon and Berkshire belly and shoulder
LAC: Were any special cooking techniques or equipment used to cook and finish this dish?
GE: We dice all the bacon so we create air pockets when it cooks. We fill the air pockets with the pork stock
LAC: What’s the inspiration for the plating?
GE: More about everyone getting everything in one bite. These events are really about everyone getting everything in one or two bites. So the mustard, chicharones and pork pie all in one shot
LAC: How does this plate reflect the restaurant’s menu and chef’s cooking philosophy?
CS This dish reflects the restaurant because if you think what we do there we take simple concepts but we try to imagine them as more delicious. And this…a pork pie is a pork pie. We’ve all had a hundred of them, and they’re all good but to me they’re not brilliant. So to me that’s a little bit Los Angeles. What’s Los Angeles have to lend to a pie like this? The chicharones bring a little crunch where normally the pork pie is lacking crunch. Thechicharones bring a little salty and more porky flavor. The mustard brings a little bit of moisture normally you don’t have that either. And the passion fruit pork gel is just a stock, a natural gel. So it is imagining a dish that is centered around an ingredient and then elevating it somehow.