We are going to do something a little different this week on Culinary R and D. On Sunday I am heading to the great North East for a Culinary Learning Journey through New England! I will be doing daily updates on the Culinary R and D facebook page with food pictures and ideas on new dishes to create back at Inspired Occasions. Sooo this week I am going back in time and writing about an extraordinary experience Lon and I took part in last spring. Enjoy!!
Every once in a while you get a chance to really shine. Not just for yourself or those around you, but for an entire city! That was the opportunity my dad and I had last spring at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix Arizona.
A little bit of background here; every year the top rail freight carriers convene for an amazing four day conference. This year there were over 1000 of the top rail executives and their largest clients gathered together on the fertile oasis of the Wigwam Resort. During the conference, each carrier would host one or more event- “Proms” as the event planners called them, to entertain and show their appreciation to their customers and executives.
Kansas City Southern didn’t want to go with the flow this year. They wanted to do something different that represented their spirit of ingenuity and uniqueness.
Several months before the conference KCS approached us to do something special, something intimate, different and exciting. We were tasked with creating an evening that would stand out from all the other parties. Something that would keep people talking. What could be more exciting than a father - son chef’s demonstration dinner!
After several weeks of planning with the Wigwam Event and Culinary staff, Lon and I flew to Phoenix and immediately started prepping with the Wigwam chefs for the dinner.
It was an amazing menu showcasing the best of the south west, with a flourish of Midwest flair. And for each course, Lon and I were walking the diners through the creation process. Part of the show was providing additional tips, tricks, and secrets to help make them a culinary success at home. The rest of the show was pure entertainment!
We started with a beautiful Lobster Ceviche made with coconut milk and fresh chilies served on fried plantain chips. The sweet coconut milk added a rich yet slightly creamy component to perfectly balance the subtle lobster.
Next, a personal favorite of mine, Baby Greens, Arugula, and Watercress with a Sautéed Goat Cheese Medallion, Asian pears, Spiced Pepitas, and drizzled with a Prickly Pear Vinaigrette!
Then we showcased the big boys, Balsamic Glazed Pan Seared Sea Bass on a bed of Grilled Corn relish with Grilled Fennel and fresh Cherry Tomatoes followed by fork tender Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs with a Parsnip and Potato Puree. Sautéed King Trumpet Mushrooms and Sautéed Patty Pan Squash completed the entrée presentation.
The Trio dessert was a perfect way to end the meal, Brandy Snap Cookie Basket with Fresh Berries, Our signature Chocolate Habanera and Lime Ice Cream and Mini Lemon Tarts with Blueberry Tarragon Compote.
The dinner was amazing; guests were laughing, joking, clapping and enjoying every second of the Culinary Show. We had the opportunity to present a culinary side of Kansas City to people from all over the nation that night, and repeatedly we heard, “That was the best meal I have ever had!”
Lon and I were so honored to demonstrate to the guests of Kansas City Southern Railroad that Kansas City is so much more than BBQ. We have some of the most talented and creative people in the nation serving up the best drinks, food and entertainment rooted firmly in our fantastic city. Kansas City is the best kept secret in the Nation, and, as “Culinary Ambassadors”, we are doing our best to spread the word!
Stay tuned for more inspired dishes from Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions Research and Development Department!