The star of last night's AltaMare farm-to-table dinner, hosted by chef Simon Stojanovic, was fresh local produce, meat, and seafood, as farmers, chefs, and diners sat together to enjoy a five-course celebration of Florida's land and sea bounty.
Diners included 1500 Degrees' Paula DaSilva and Adrienne Grenier (who were celebrating Grenier's recent Chopped victory), Haven's executive chef Todd Erickson, Michael Borek from Teena's Pride and Michael Borek Farms, and Jodi Swank from Swank Farms.
The dinner was the first in a semi-series for AltaMare (watch for a head-to-tail dinner featuring Florida grouper in the spring) and cost $65 per person ($90 with a generous wine pairing).
Stojanovic went out of his way to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Each course showcased ingredients like heirloom tomatoes, shishito peppers, golden tile fish, and red royal shrimp, letting the natural flavors show through.
The chef worked the room, answering questions about the dishes (for instance, the duck eggs topping the warm veal rilllette are slow poached for hours in a warm bath to ensure a creamy, fluffy texture).
By the way, we couldn't resist asking Grenier if her boss DaSilva secretly knew of her Chopped win (which was filmed over six months ago). Grenier told us that she had made a bet with DaSilva that if she won, she'd pick up the tab for a nice meal. "We were in New York, having dinner at Eleven Madison Park, and I reached for the check." Smooth move.
Southern Crisp: mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes, and baby beets meet black-and-blue cheese (Michael Borek Farms, Winter Park Dairy).
Inlet Heat: white Canaveral, red royal, and rock shrimp with shishito peppers, garlic chives, and lime zest (Wild Ocean Seafood, Swank Farms, Michael Borek Farms).
Ocean Gem: pan-roasted golden tile served with oven-roasted baby carrots, butternut squash sauce, and micro-herb salad (Wild Ocean Seafood, Swank Farms, Heart of Christmas Farms).
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Mother's Milk: warm veal rillette topped with slow-poached duck egg, pickled horseradish, and grilled bucheron (Nines Mine Ranch, Lake Meadows Natural).
Sunset: Thai guava creme tart with herb sorbet and citrus sauce (Michael Borek Farms, Tevye Farms, Unity Grows).
1500 Degrees' Adrienne Grenier and Paula DaSilva celebrating over dinner.