NEW YORK, NY :: JBF CHINESE NEW YEAR 2013 // chef peter chang, chef scott drewno, peking ducks, dumplings, baos, scallops, pork belly

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Something looked different in the James Beard kitchen on Saturday night… peking ducks were hanging from the hood, bao buns were nestled in bamboo, dumplings were steamed till translucent… Chinese New Year had officially begun.

Chef Peter Chang of Peter Chang Restaurant (VA) and Chef Scott Drewno of The Source (Washington DC) brought their teams to NYC to celebrate the Year of the Snake.

As I entered the JBF house to work in the kitchen, I almost mistook Chef Chang’s mother for my Aunt Nancy. The sounds and smells in the kitchen were all too familiar- hot oil hitting the wok, duck dripping from the ceilings, exchanges of Chinese banter- I actually prepared myself to answer standard family questions like “Are you gaining weight? Are you going to get your PhD? When are you and your boyfriend getting married?” Shudder.

After a smile, a quick hello and a friendly introduction, I unpacked my knives and started working.

KITCHEN DUTIES:

  • Prepping the shrimp dumplings
  • Snipping microgreens
  • Plating the pickle dishes
  • Steaming the bao buns
  • Plating the dessert in 30 degree weather

ON THE MENU:

  • Hors d’Oeuvre
    • Cumin Lamb Kebabs
    • Shrimp Balls with Radishes and Chives
    • Cilantro, Fish, and Tofu Skin Rolls
    • Dry-Fried Eggplant
    • Red-Braised Pork Belly with Millet Congee and Star Anise
    • Chinese Dumpling Dough Soup with Duck Wontons and Chilies
  • Dinner
    • Dumplings
    • Grandmother’s Baked Chilean Sea Bass
    • Baked Beef Tenderloin with Dried Chilies
    • Sea Scallops with Housemade Chili XO Sauce, Bitter Melon, Turnips, and Carrots
    • Chinese Barbecue Plate
    • Tangerine, Grape, and Pomegranate Sorbets; Sweet Lotus Roll and Sesame Ball

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT:

Chef Chang is a one man army. Focused and determined, Chef Chang worked quickly in the back and banged out dish after dish on his own. The only time you’d see him come out from the back was when a dish was complete… otherwise you could only smell his spicy creations from the front of the kitchen.

MEMORABLE MOMENT:

The Source’s Pastry Chef, Duane Copeland, had 9 different elements on his dessert plate. In order to get the cold dessert plates out on time, we set up a work station in the backyard. In Chef Jackets and bare hands, the volunteer team plated 83 sorbet plates in 30 degree weather for guests to enjoy- needless to say, MISSION COMPLETE!

OVERALL:

When I saw multiple ducks hanging from the exhaust hood, I knew this was going to be an interesting night at the Beard House. The menu was extensive, plentiful and delicious. Both Chef Peter (left) and Chef Scott (middle) filled the kitchen with flavors from the East & the West to create the ultimate Chinese New Year feast.

Happy Chinese New Year (gung-hay-fat-choy) Everyone!

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