On Thursday, I ate weeds for dinner.
And do you know who supports this type of dining behavior?
That’s right, chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud.
It was his Chef de Cuisine of DANIEL, Eddy Leroux who created an eight course menu based on local foraging by Tama Matsuoka Wong of Meadows and More. Together they paired appetizers, entrees, multiple desserts, and signature cocktails with wild plants for a one-night-only Foraged Flavor dinner at the James Beard Foundation on Thursday, May 16th.
8 COURSE DINNER AT THE BEARD HOUSE
Everyone was served five savory dishes and three dessert courses (please note, one dessert course included five different tastings… and yes, you read that correctly- a total of 6 dessert plates). Visit the JBF website for the full menu.
When the chefs entered the main dining room at the end of the meal, we got a surprise visit from Daniel Boulud (Fun Fact: Daniel Boulud scooped the Melilot Ice Cream featured above)! As Daniel Boulud lead the closing notes, we were introduced to all of the talent in the kitchen (shout out to Roger Ma of Vancouver), and then we received a special inside scoop on Tama and Eddy’s foraging relationship during the Question & Answer session.
This meal may very well be my “Best Dinner of 2013”. The appetizers were flavorful and surprising, the cocktails were refreshing and playful, the entrees were intricate, delicious, smooth, fresh, and fun!
Prior to this dinner, I didn’t know a thing about foraging. I didn’t even acknowledge the fact that “foraged plants” and “weeds” were synonymous.
- I used to think of weeds as tall, sharp plants growing in between concrete… yellows dandelions, plants that gave me allergies, and poisonous sprays that I avoided while in Home Depot.
- As far as foraged meals, I understood the concept as rare edible plants that were turned into haute cuisine… however, Tama clarified things for me. She came to my table with a big smile and said, “I hope you enjoy the icecream, it’s made of weeds that my organic farmer wanted to get rid of!” And that’s when the light bulb went off…
Foraged plants are edible, organic weeds. And I’m not quite sure how weeds got such a bad rap, but you can learn more about edible wild plants in Tama and Eddy’s book, Foraged Flavor.