Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pam Wischkaemper's swan song

October 18

Freshly back from MUFSO, this evening I had my first dinner at the newly redecorated James Beard House. This was to be the last dinner of soon-to-be-retired San Diego-based publicist Pamela Wischkaemper, who takes her clients' Beard House appearances very seriously.
Several years ago she corralled three San Diego chefs into preparing a Beard House meal A YEAR IN ADVANCE. They practiced the dinner, served it to local press in San Diego and then flew those journalists to New York and brought them to the dinner. That was smart: It's nice to get written up in Bon Appétit or Gourmet, but it's probably better for your bottom line to get attention from local media that's going to be read by your customers.
This evening's chefs, Tony DiSalvo and Marco Ferraro, were from Jack's in La Jolla Calif. Pam didn't bring any local press, but she did manage to attract journalists from Forbes, Food Arts, and Nation's Restaurant News (that's me), as well as, to my delight, Travel + Leisure in the person of my friend Clark Mitchell, whom I hadn't seen since, well, the last time he appeared in this blog, which I guess wasn't too long ago. But it was nice to see him anyway. One seat was empty, because Andrew Knowlton from Bon Appétit said he'd be there, but he didn't show.
Although Pam didn't bring local media, she did splash out when it came to printing the menu. The theme of the dinner was Art of the Chef, and she had the menus printed on canvas and stretched on a frame.

Here's what was on the menu:
Japanese snapper sashimi, rose, celery, fresh wasabi
Kumamoto oyster warmed in Calvados, green apple
Prime beef tartare, cornichons, osetra caviar
Veuve Cliquot, Yellow label, NV

Study of Squash and Prawns
Santa Barbara Prawns, kabocha squash ravioli, sage beurre noisette, Alba white truffles
Qupe Viognier, 2005, Santa Barbara

Homage to Manny Farber
Sonoma foie gras, Union Square market fruit, ice wine vinegar
Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett, Mosel Saar Ruhr, Germany, 2005

Hockney Codified
Chatham cod, sweet & spicy peperonata, clams, chorizo, parsley
Schramsberg sparkling brut rosé, Napa, NV

Pollock's First Stroke
Millbrook venison, Valencia orange and juniper topping, Tuscan kale, spiced cocoa jus
Garibaldi Barolo, Piedmont, 2000

Vanilla and Brachetto roasted black mission figs, spiced nougatine, honey-yogurt ice cream
Banfi Brachetto d'Acqui, NV

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