You can’t bring snow to San Francisco, but you can bring food |

You can’t bring snow to San Francisco, but you can bring food

Laura A. Ball
EAT Mirabelle3 PU 12-22

From December to March, Daniel Joly is never too far away from his turn-of-the-century farmhouse turned fine dining haven (he and his wife, Nathalie, and their two children live just upstairs) tucked safely into the hillside of Beaver Creek. In fact, he’s lucky if he can clock in under 60 hours a week.But when it comes down to shutting his doors when the snow melts and a pin drop can be heard in an otherwise high-volume ski town, the work is not over for Joly. He uses the offseason to his advantage, to promote his name, his business and the Vail Valley – anywhere but here.Last fall, Joly was invited to New York to participate as a “rising star” in the American Cuisine series at the prestigious James Beard House where he won over guests with his six-course menu of trilogies. He’s attended the Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, Calif., and has served as guest chef on Crystal Cruise Lines.This year, when Belgian beer makers InBev USA called upon Joly to host a three-city tour educating foodies and creating fare not only pairing Belgian beer with food but using lager as an integral ingredient, Joly could not refuse.”I’m going as an ambassador to the Vail Valley,” he said. “At the same time, I’m helping them to accomplish something by promoting cooking with beer at the same time. It seemed like a win-win situation.”Joly has other motives on his plate, too; He likes to expand his culinary horizons beyond his own kitchen. “You always gain something professionally when you travel. Food evolves every day,” he said. “You have to look outside the Vail Valley and see what chefs are doing in major cities.”Not to mention that most of Joly’s customer base are from those cities, making it important that he keeps up or at least is aware of food trends in hot.And he never turns down a challenge.”When I work at Mirabelle for so long, I know where everything is. It gets to be a routine. Everything is so efficient, organized,” Joly said. “With something like this, you go into unknown waters. It’s the surprise of life.”La Cuisine a la biereFrom its naturally cloudy white beer made from 45 percent unmalted wheat like Hoegaarden to its golden abbey ale like Leffe Blonde to Stella Artois, a pilsner-style lager, beer is to Belgium what wine is to France. Belgians even have their own pouring ritual, an eight-step method that begins with a “beer-clean” glass, a glass free of detergent residue, which will cause the beer’s head to fall quickly ending in the “beheading,” even with the top of the glass.

With the country’s reverence to beer, it was only natural that la cuisine a la biere evolved, where beer is used not only to wash down the food but as an essential ingredient in the food itself, resulting in a harmony of sophisticated flavors. And so, the Belgian beer gurus decided why not bring la cuisine a la biere to the United States.”I think people think of beer as being more of a barbecue or backyard picnic accompaniment, whereas in Belgium, it accompanies fine dining. It goes way beyond what we think of here as casual bar food,” said Lisa Rhodes of Stella Artois. “Beer is complex in its own right. It’s perfectly OK for people to drink a beer with a fine meal. It doesn’t have to be wine.” They knew no one better than Joly, the youngest ever chef to be named Belgian Master, to embody this vision.”Daniel’s such a phenomenal chef and so well-respected. He is just such a perfect representative of excellent sophisticated Belgian cuisine,” said Lisa Rhodes of Stella Artois. “And that makes him the perfect representative to talk about cooking with beer.”Joly was even more eager to participate when he learned of the trend reaching the U.S.”I’ve educated myself about the beer and food, and there’s such a big following of people who drink beer instead of wine,” the chef said. “I was surprised so many people here really enjoy it that I said, ‘I must find a way to cook with it.'”InBev USA gave Joly complete creative control. He dreamed up 20 different dishes that he whittled down to three the company could pick from. Rhodes said all three menus were “so amazing,” that it was difficult to choose just one. The winner: baby arugula salad with diced prosciutto and beer vinaigrette; Leffe Blonde steamed Alaskan halibut with fondue of Napa cabbage and Leffe polenta frites; carmelized crepe with golden apples and beer sorbet.”It was intriguing for me to develop the menu.” he said. “You have to be a little bit creative. I don’t want the food to usurp the beer or the beer to usurp the food. I want the right balance.”The biggest tip Joly has for cooking with beer is, unlike wine which you reduce, you don’t want to overreduce beer because it will become too bitter. And, you might want to think about portion control.”I might drink more beer than I usually do,” he said. “I’m going to be working with a lot of beer.”If you go:

Daniel Joly will travel from Denver to Los Angeles to San Francisco hosting dinners and demonstrations cooking with beerDenverWednesday Belgian Beer Dinner – Mirepoix6:30-10 p.m.ThursdayWhole Foods, TamaracCooking demonstration4-6 p.m.Los AngelesTuesday, May 16Belgian Beer Dinner – Dolce, West Hollywood

Wednesday, May 17 – Gelsons, CalabasasCooking demonstrationSan FranciscoThursday, May 18Belgian Beer Dinner – Mini classSur la TableFriday, May 19Andronico’s, Walnut CreekCooking classStaff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at (970) 748-2939, or, Colorado

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