Did you know that NASCAR originated as a group of moonshiners trying to out-race law enforcement officers?
That’s what Peter Grills, food & beverage manager of Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte, N.C., told me the other night. I have no idea if it’s true, but isn’t it a great story?
And it makes sense, really.
Isn’t Peter Grills also a great name for an F&B manager?
The chefs of Gallery restaurant at the Ballantyne Resort, executive chef Kirk Gilbert and chef de cuisine J. Kelly Morrow, were cooking at the James Beard House. In an unusual move, the only wines served at the event were from Childress Vineyards, a North Carolina wine company that grows all of its own grapes and was founded by NASCAR star Richard Childress.
It’s not unusual for a Beard House dinner to be sponsored by a wine company, but I’ve never seen one from North Carolina represented, so that was cool.
In another interesting move, Childress Vineyards is mentioned all over the menu and is also mentioned on the invitation that was sent to me, but the chefs’ names are nowhere to be seen. I had to look them up on the Beard Foundation’s web site.
Also on the menu, the wine was mentioned first, in bold, followed by the food, in plain text. But I’ll list it as I usually do.
What I ate and drank:
Neapolitan of parsnip with roasted baby beets, English peas and butternut squash
House-made cheese and charcuterie, including pork soppresata and Long Island duck coppa
Chicken liver mousse truffle with branded cherry and spiced pegan
Tayler Bay Scallop and Langoustine “Rockefeller”
Gallery’s house cocktail, which is Prosecco, Aperol and soda
Checkerboard of ahi tuna and hamachi with jalapeño and kumpquat escabèche and micro cilantro
2006 Childress Vineyards Signature Series Reserve Chardonnay
Duo of Barbecue glazed squab breast, Grateful Growers pork ham hocks, white stone ground Anson Mills grits and caramelized Vidalia onion preserves
2004 Childress Vineyards Allegro Shiraz
kaffir lime & coconut pâte de fruit, and Valencia orange and cream pâte de fruit
Pot au feu of beef short ribs, lamb merguez and poussin torchon with beta sweet carrots, cipollini and salsify
2005 Childress Vineyards Signature Series Meritage
Roasted Forelli pear with cardamom cake and Poire William sabayon
Pear-star anise ice cream
Pear crumbles with black mission fig and muscovado sugar
2007 Childress Vineyards Polar Late Harvest White Wine
Petits fours, coffee and Childress Vineyards Starbound Red Dessert Wine