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Course Work

Working together last year, McCrady’s chef Sean Brock and Richard Blais plated a pork belly dish with eggplant, apple, and sweet and sour radish.

february 22, 2010

Course Work
Top Chef toques connect with McCrady’s chef Sean Brock to dish up a gourmet group dinner

WRITTEN BY Marion Sullivan
Photographs by Charleston Picture Company

Brock whipped up some peanut cotton candy for a dish with compressed melon and Bentons ham.
Kirshtein and Blais made Tabasco “dippin’ dots” for Oyster and Pearls, a Remix.

Foodies chompin’ at the bit for the tasty BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival can tie on their bibs March 3rd for an early first bite. “A Taste of the South” will be an evening of shake, sizzle, and surprise when Top Chef alums Richard Blais and Eli Kirshtein team up with McCrady’s chef Sean Brock to turn out a seven-course bill of fare.

Each in this trendsetting trio has a multicourse background in groundbreaking creative cuisine. Blais’s Culinary Institute of America internship took him to Thomas Keller’s prestigious French Laundry, when Grant Achatz (now of Alinea) was there. He also spent time in Spain at El Bulli under molecular gastronomy über-chef Ferran Adria. His latest creations are Flip Burger Boutiques in Birmingham and midtown Atlanta, where CNN says he “gives iconic American foods a serious makeover!”

Like Blais, CIA grad Kirshtein also worked for Daniel Boulud—the festival’s 2010 Celebrity Chef. After graduation, he cooked for Blais in Atlanta and Miami’s Alberto Cabrera, who worked under chef Angel Palacios, a protégé of Ferran Adria. The dots connect when one learns that Brock apprenticed at Chicago’s Trio with Achatz.

What will the group be whipping up for this powerhouse prelude to the festival? Brock plans to whet your appetite with an Amuse of Frozen Goat Cheese, Beet Meringue, and Hibiscus—a scoop of savory goat cheese ice cream covered in a beet meringue and dusted with hibiscus powder. His seafood course is succulent Poached Diver Scallop with Pickled Sweet Potato, Ginger, Black Garlic, and Blis Elixir—the latter being a thick, 10-year-old sherry vinegar that’s aged an additional year in maple-cured whiskey barrels.

Blais and Kirshtein are keeping their courses under wraps, but you can bet your best bottle of bourbon that they will buzz into town with plenty of pizzazz and a phenomenal menu.

McCrady’s, 2 Unity Alley. March 3, Wednesday, 6 p.m. $125 (plus tax & gratuity); wine pairings, additional $50. (843) 577-0025

For more information on “A Taste of the South,” click here.

To read the “In Good Taste” article about Sean Brock’s down-home dinner at Thornhill Farm, click here.



Mon, 02/22/2010