Last night was the kick off this summer's session of Kitchen Collab at Tongue & Cheek. Chef Jamie DeRosa and Chef Brandon McGlamery of Luma on Park and Prato in Winter Park joined forces on one grand menu. Unlike other chef collaborations you may see, where the duo of chefs switch off on courses, these two chefs had their hands on each dish from a multitude of text messages, calls, and emails. For this iteration of the dinner series, DeRosa is focusing on Orlando and wants people to "think outside the mouse" and on the region's other dining options.
When he began the series last year he focused on Broward and Palm Beach County and Chef Paula DeSilva was in attendance, as she was a previous collaborator that kicked it off last time around. Short Order was also invited to taste the two talents merge in this one night only dinner event.
The evening began with Gin & Juice cocktails -- laid back! -- and passed bites of cod brandade churros, lardo wrapped shishito, chorizo croquetas, and a favorite of all was a corn blini, covered with a buttery bone marrow custard and topped with cavaiar and a pickled shallot. It was a real pop and that custard was like mother's milk.
The meal began with a salt and sugar cured cobia it was the spicy melon sorbet that cooled the dish and brought rich sweetness and heat while a consomme was poured on top to balance it out.
A simple salad with a dollop of ricotta was not accepted. Here, the chefs grilled and smoked the cheese for a totally different texture and flavor and placed it over smokey pole beens, apricots and jamon iberico toast that served as the croutons.
In an effort to answer that age old question, what came first the pigeon or the hen egg, the chefs served them both on one plate. The poached hen egg came over creamed corn with squab and chanterelles.
Despite it's green grub appearance, the pea shoot cavatelli was a favorite dish amongst the table. For something different than the typical linguine and clams, this dish had local clams with a shecrab butter and a Marcona almond pesto.
DeRosa once served the most beautiful rabbit with a sunflower seed rissotto, that we still remember fondly. However, this rabbit dish that the chefs collaborated on hopped all over the plate in different and exciting ways. "It was hard to fit it all on one plate," noted DeRosa. It featured a rabbit loin, a mortadella, merguez, rilletes, rack and more. The lean meat was the star cast in numerous starring roles and the biggest question became, where to start?
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After the rabbit, the happy ending came with an almond financier, with roasted cherries, a stone fruit jam and little pearls of Thai basil ice cream.
The collaboration and thought process behind the menu was apparent and it was a one night only display of dinner theater that received claps at the end. The next Kitchen Collab at the Cheek will be with Chef James Petrakis of Cask and Larder and Ravenous Pig fame on August 25.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst