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Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino and Washington State Wine united at Feast Portland 2017 to host a lunch extravaganza for media at the chef’s new restaurant, Jackrabbit in Portland, Oregon. Chef Cosentino, the season-four winner of Top Chef Masters and a contender on The Next Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, collaborated to create a multi-course meal with exceptional wine pairings.
When asked, “Is there any difference cooking for a group of media vs. everyday customers?” Chef stated, “It’s always a little extra exciting cooking for media!” However, he explained, it is important to treat everyone the same giving each customer the highest level of hospitality his restaurants are known for.
Sustainable Foods | Chef Cosentino features the use of entire animals. Chef is known for offal because he cooked with parts of the animal that no one else wanted before anyone else was doing it. He says, “I believe it is important to honor the animal and be as sustainable as we can be, which means cooking with all of it.”
Although chef enjoys creating dishes with offal, he happily prepares more typical cuts of meat and fresh vegetables. He offers a delectable selection of raw seafood for those preferring treasures from the sea.
Locally Sourced Pacific Northwest Ingredients | People in the culinary industry use lingo unique to their field. The word “locavore” describes a person that locally sources their culinary ingredients. Chef Cosentino highlights locally sourced Pacific Northwest ingredients. He works with top local purveyors like Nicky USA (locally sourced meat), Groundwork Organics, and Gathering Together Farm for some of the most beautiful produce in the area. He states, “It’s really important to us to source as locally as possible, and that’s always been my philosophy through all of my restaurants.”
The media lunch began with guests sipping on Treveri® Cellars Blanc de Blancs Brut. The brut flowed freely, and diners enjoyed the subtle nuances of green apple, brioche, and the finish of bright acidity.
The Media Lunch | The four-course lunch included eight separate dishes exquisitely paired with eight wines. Each winery, Browne Family Vineyards, Treveri® Cellars, and Seven Hills Winery, contributed three wines for the event. The first course began with a duo of appetizer plates. A Tombo Crudo, raw tuna lightly spiced with fish sauce, aromatic herbs, and citrus juice, arrived in a simple white bowl topped with a delicate rice cracker. The Batteau Platter, a double decker display, offered oysters on the half shell, clams, cured hams, and a rabbit pâté with toast points.
Chef Cosentino collaborates on every menu with his executive chef, Chris DiMinno. They worked with Washington State Wine to pair the wines with each course. Chef Cosentino says, “It’s such great wine. We knew we would be working with bold flavors, and that works well with our style of cooking.”
Two wines paired with the first course. The 2015 Browne Family Vineyards Chardonnay featured slightly sweet oak and vanilla aromas along with hints of mango and ripe guava, and the 2016 Seven Hills Sauvignon Blanc led with zesty bright fruits and herbal qualities.
The second course encompassed two distinctly different dishes. Lobster mushrooms and creamed nettles topped the bruschetta, and the cabbage salad incorporated sweet apples, crunchy hazelnuts, and a bright sherry vinaigrette. The bruschetta and salad also arrived with two wines. The 2013 Browne Family Vineyards Malbec from Klipsun Vineyards presented aromas of nut, plum, white pepper, and blackberry while imparting flavors of vanilla and whiskey leaving a luscious full finish in the mouth. The 2014 Browne Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, a dark red wine rich in flavors of black cherry and herbs, also paired well with the course.
Chef Cosentino’s Famous Meat Dishes | a trio of hearty meat dishes arrived leading diners into the third course: Leg of Beast, a succulent beef shank served with a horseradish gremolata; Pin Bone Steak a section of tenderloin combined with the meaty portion of a top loin accompanied by seasonal vegetables and bone marrow dip; and, finally, Angry Pork Belly with sweet potatoes. The meat-laden menu partnered perfectly with 2014 Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot and 2014 Seven Hills Ciel du Cheval Vineyard vintage red wine.
The merlot exhibited aromas of black cherry, cedar, and cocoa along with flavors of red currant and black peppercorn while the Ciel du Cheval red wine delivered earthy and blackberry aromas and flavors of cherry and plum. The full-bodied wines blended magically with the juicy, scrumptious meats.
The final course of Strawberry Puffs with vanilla bean cream, malt clusters, and fresh strawberries arrived with two wines: the Treveri® Cellars Blanc de Noir, a bubbly wine with notes of strawberry and brioche, and the Treveri® Cellars Gewürztraminer with tropical fruit and spice notes. This sweet yet light dessert again represented a delightful partnership between three Washington state wineries and the cuisine at Jackrabbit, a fine dining restaurant in Portland, Oregon.
Chef Cosentino proclaims that working at Jackrabbit is fun. He uses the best ingredients the Pacific Northwest offers and presents them in a way where there is something special for everyone. He says, “We’ve got the best artisan ham plates, oyster and seafood towers, and large format dishes that groups can share and connect over.”