Posted on | June 28, 2010 | 4 Comments
Two of my favorite cooking shows are Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. A couple of weeks ago, I’d heard that Rick Moonen was hosting a charity dinner at RM Seafood, along with this season’s TCM winner, Marcus Samuelsson. All proceeds were to benefit a wonderful local charity, Three Square, which serves to fight hunger in Las Vegas. I called my husband to tell him, then immediately booked our reservation. A once in a lifetime chance to taste the food of two masters… all for charity… we were so there!
Now, I have a confession to make. I’ve been out of town a lot the past few weeks, and had the TCM final episode on DVR, but didn’t plan to watch it. I was rooting for Susur Lee or Rick Moonen to win. When I heard Marcus Samuelsson won, I was disappointed and decided I didn’t want to see it. Yes, I’m a bit of a sore loser!
The night of the event we arrived at RM a bit early and waited in line behind a few other couples. First up for the night was a cooking demonstration by Chef Samuelsson, and since we were towards the front of the line, we secured seats in the second row. Chefs Moonen and Samuelsson engaged the group, told a few stories, and demonstrated how to cook two dishes. One was served during the cocktail reception, a very tasty tuna/avocado taco. The other was a curry noodle dish with grilled shrimp, which smelled wonderful. Chef Samuelsson cooked it up, then dished out a few bowls… and reached over & handed one to me! I was awestruck- and yes, it was delicious.
After cocktails, hor d’oeuvres , photo ops and book signings, we were asked to be seated at our assigned tables, 12 per table. Here we were fed 5 courses of some pretty incredible food. Here’s what we had:
I believe the first dish was Chef Moonen’s. It was buratta mozzarella with chilled Maine lobster. The lobster was incredibly fresh and flavorful. The cheese was perfect- smooth, and soft and melty in the middle. The tomatoes were seasoned in a wonderful, slightly tart watermelon sauce. Accompanying this dish was a glass of 2009 Cune Rioja Rosado. A very nice start.
Next, the star dish of the night, the likely reason Chef Samuelsson is now called ‘Top Chef Master’, and one of the best things I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating… Chef Samuelsson’s ‘outrageous’ (a quote from an executive chef seated across from me) foie gras ganache. Words can’t do this dish justice, but let me try.
Imagine foie gras, blended until it’s silky, perhaps with a bit of sweet cream to make it even richer than it started, then served like a chocolate lava cake. The outside is soft and savory. Then, you cut into it, and this heavenly, savory, saucy foie gras comes oozing out onto your plate like liquid gold. We were all one step away from licking our plates clean. Yes, it was as good, if not better, than it looked on the TCM finale. I wish everyone could taste this! In that first moment of tasting the dish, I became an instant fan of Chef Samuelsson, and felt like an idiot for not rooting for him to win. Oh, and not to be overlooked was an incredible piece of tender, coffee cured duck. I’m not a huge duck fan, but I’d order this in a restaurant any day. Finishing the dish was a dollop of balsamic ice cream. This dish was accompanied by a 2008 Maramiero “Anima” Trebbiano D’Abruzzo. In a word: incredible.
After course two, we were all awestruck, but there was more goodness to come. Course three was another Moonen dish; an orrichette pasta with shredded rabbit, with a sweet English pea sauce. The pasta was perfect. The rabbit was mild, tender, and delectable. The pea sauce was the perfect accompaniment to both. A glass of 2009 Two Hands “Brilliant Disguise” Moscato was served with this dish, which was one of my favorite drinks of the night. Sweet, but quite good.
Course four was Chef Samuelsson’s smoked arctic char, with apple horseradish broth, and sliced jicama. The fish literally melted in my mouth, and was infused with a wonderful smoky flavor. This came with a glass of quite bitter Sierra Nevada “Torpedo” Extra IPA.
After dinner, Robin Leach emceed a charity auction, again with all proceeds going to Three Square. I wish I could have bid on the dinner, cooked at your home by both chefs, but $25,000 was a tad too steep for me..
Overall, a night I will never forget. We met and chatted with both chefs, who were incredibly warm, friendly, and appeared genuinely happy to be there in support of Three Square. Not to mention, we also got to consume some amazing food. A winning night for everyone!
For more information on Three Square: http://www.threesquare.org/
RM Seafood is located at 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119