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Power of three

Laura A. Ball

Thursday’s bill of fareCorn Blini with Smoked SalmonSteak Tartare with Baby Arugula PistouSweetbreads, Turkey, and Mushroom BallotineCaymus Conundrum 2003Sea Bass Trilogy>Marinated Sea Bass Mille-Feuilles, Sea Bass en Croûte d’Épices, and Sea Bass OreillettesMer Soleil Chardonnay 2003Lobster Trilogy>Sautéed Claws with Zucchini and Blood Orange Marmalade, Grilled Tail with Coconut Foam, and Lobster Coral RisottoBelle Glos Taylor Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003Poultry Trilogy>Roasted Squab with Chestnut Cream, Duck Breast with Black Mission Figs, and Hot Foie Gras with Hazelnut CrustCaymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2002Cheese Trilogy>Three Varieties of Colorado Farm Goat Cheese CroquettesCaymus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2003Belgian Chocolate Trilogy>Trio of Chocolate SensationsIt could be indecisiveness, boredom, culinary genius or all three.When Mirabelle chef Daniel Joly decided to accept the prestigious offer to create a six-course feast for 85 at the Beard House in New York City, he sat down and drew from his imagination a menu consisting of a trilogy of delectables for each plate. “You’re not just cooking six dishes, you’re cooking 18 dishes,” Joly explains in a thick Belgian accent as he juliennes potatoes to be used as garnish for the first course. The trend of restaurants playing up luxury tapas inspired the bill of fare. He’s been preparing for Thursday’s meal for the past week and like the many ways to describe his strides in the kitchen, Joly plans to illustrate the way you taste food can be as simple as perspective.”With a trilogy, you allow people a different flavor in each dish,” he said. “It’s interesting for someone to taste the variations side by side, and its fun to taste the value of the wine with each dish.”The mouthwatering lobster trilogy, for instance, offers sauteed claws with zucchini and blood orange marmalade, grilled tail with coconut foam and lobster coral risotto paired with a 2003 Mer Soleil chardonnay. “The way that his menu is presented is very much like a study, really taking one ingredient and showcasing different aspects,” said Isabella Wojcik, assistant program director at the Beard House. “It is unique in that we don’t often see menus like that.”Joly’s creations don’t just look good on paper. At 20, his culinary talents earned him Best Young Chef of Belgium. His ambition then brought him to the U.S., where he Gourmet called one of the top 10 dining rooms in the country. It will be his second visit to the culinary Mecca, a foundation housed in a renovated brown stone in Greenwich Village dedicated to celebrating and nurturing the best food and wine in the U.S., primarily by bringing in chefs from all over the country to showcase their talents. He wants to make this meal even more memorable than the last. He believes a chef’s reputation is very fragile because it’s only as good as your last meal and that whatever he cooks today must be better tomorrow. “I think when you get invited to the James Beard, you’re recognized as one of the top chefs in America. It’s an honor to be invited there,” Joly said. “At the Beard House I feel I’m representing not only Mirabelle but the Vail Valley. I want to do something really special. I want to put my best foot forward.”The incentive for chefs to travel across the country, Wojcik said, is the prestige of being associated with the organization.”There’s definitely something to be said for coming and cooking in New York to promote your own style, your own restaurant and your own region,” she said. “They really are bringing the best of what that region has to offer. It’s the opportunity to really present your food to another audience. A lot of chefs feel that by coming to New York, they boost their own national presence.”Joly sees it not only as a milestone in his career, but as a reward for his staff to be able to say they cooked at the Beard House. Traveling with him are sous chef Christophe Schuffenecker, chef de partie Leonardo Moreno, chef de partie Eric Schumacker and pastry chef Dorothee Drouet. Joly said it’s his way of giving back for all the hard work. In fact, Rocheck said, many chefs cook at the Beard House under an executive chef with dreams of one day coming back on their own.However Joly isn’t the only chef to grace the New York kitchen. Last week, Saddleridge chef Geordy Ogden took center stage to present “A Taste of Beaver Creek” at the Beard House.”It’s a super big honor,” Ogden said. “I’m very excited to represent Beaver Creek in New York.”Ogden’s successfully served a slice of the Vail Valley to a sold-out dining room of 90 people. “I have to say we’ve been fortunate over the years to invite quite a few chefs from Colorado,” Wojcik said. “It seems like Colorado as a state certainly has a high ratio of great restaurants.”Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14641, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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