James Andrews Beard – a culinary pioneer, a visionary and along with Charlie Trotter, my greatest idol.
Among others, one USP of chef Beard that I most connected with was his emphasis on using fresh, native ingredients in a country that was beginning to take cognisance of its own culinary roots.
Needless to say, to be invited to cook at the dinner hosted by the James Beard foundation was a calling any chef would grab with all hands!
Here’s my fond throwback to curating and hosting a dinner at the prestigious James Beard house during my Banq (Boston) days.
I remember every moment of the special evening and how it happened..
There were a few slots left for the dinner and we at Banq got a call. We loaded a van with everything we could and drove from Boston to do the dinner.
We made Duck Samosas for entrée, short-rib Rogan Josh for the main course and Coconut Crème Brulèe to finish it off.
It was an immensely memorable moment for us and especially for me, as an Indian chef, to soak in the applause and acknowledgement from 60 pristine diners of New York and James Beard house members.
That moment.. to walk into the room after dinner and feel it for your country and cooking in the James Beard kitchen, even.. remains priceless.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! It’d be amazing, after a good 15 odd years, to understand how much I have evolved, how much the palates have evolved..
For me, it’d would be the closing of a loop, with one more James Beard dinner.. And to cook alongside Chef Peppino, closing another loop.. of a good sort of a sibling rivalry 🙂