James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour Delights U.S.

LAS VEGAS ( MainStreet) -- James Beard Foundation winners and Minnesota chefs converged on Tom Colicchio's Riverpark for a culinary delight Wednesday -- the New York stop on the Celebrity Chef Tour 2012, benefiting the James Beard Foundation. Award-winning chefs Sisha Ortuzar (of Riverpark), Andrew Zimmern (of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on The Travel Channel), Tim McKee (of La Belle Vie and Sea Change), Isaac Becker (of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa), Alex Roberts (of Alma and Brasa), Gavin Kaysen (of Cafe Boulud) and Angie Lee (also of Riverpark) were on hand to deliver this once-in-a-lifetime multicourse dining experience. Here guests had the rare opportunity to interact with the chefs through the evening while dining on an exquisite seven-course menu complete with wine and beer pairings.

The idea for the venue began when Kaysen and Zimmern wanted to create a dinner and bring Minnesota to New York City, as both chefs had lived there at one time. Kaysen and Ortuzar were at Riverpark restaurant one night when Kaysen decided it was the ideal venue to have a dinner beginning in the farm. Ortuzar developed the concept for Riverpark and the creative vision for the menu. Riverpark sits by the East River, amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Known as New York's "most urban farm," the Riverpark Farm at Alexandria Center supplies fresh, local produce to the restaurant.
A dry-aged ribeye steak is served with asparagus, bone marrow and sauce au poivre by Gavin Kaysen of Cafe Boulud.

TravelsinTaste was on hand for the evening, which began with a reception amid the farm's local produce. Passed hors d'oeuvres ranged from Zimmern's goat tartare to Becker's fried bread with Le Quercia Rossa prosciutto and Minnesota honey to McKee's Star Prairie trout, foie gras and smoked trout roe, among other delights. Wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Russian River Ramey Cellars, Rodney Strong and Davis Bynum and beer from Stella Artois quenched guests' thirst.

The seven-course, sit-down dinner commenced with host chef Ortuzar's summer squash salad with goat cheese and chiles. Otuzar's collaboration with Colicchio began in 1997 at Gramercy Tavern. He joined Colicchio in the founding of Craft and the Craft Restaurant Group and also created the 'wichcraft concept. Now he focuses on Riverpark.