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On Saturday night of the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, I was lucky to attend a truly special event. A private wine tasting dinner with chef Marcus Samuelsson with wine selections by Michael Green at the Foundation Room in the House of Blues.
I’m not one to gush, but this dinner was one for the books. It was a very small event, with a few casino guests, executives and myself.
I arrived a bit early and snuck back into the kitchen to see what Chef Samuelsson was whipping up for us.
Chef was very busy preparing the meal. It was a treat to watch a master in action.
I joined the rest of the party for hors d’ouvres and a flute of Perrier Jouet ’96, selected by Michael Green. We enjoyed lime oysters, Kobe beef sliders, and green curry shrimp skewers. The shrimp skewers, we were told later, were based on a recipe chef had created for a White House dinner last year.
Our first course was a delicate lobster spring roll with sevruga caviar, paired with Domaine Chevalier Blanc Pessac-Leognan ’06. Delightful and light.
One of my favorite dishes of the night, the second course, was a Hot-Smoked Salmon with Yogurt and a Bagel Crisp.
The third course was absolutely stunning, and my personal favorite of the night. Coffee cured duck with foie gras ganache and watercress. Beyond rich. It was paired with two glasses of Conterno Fantino Barolo from the Piedmont region of Italy. Same grape, same vineyard, the only difference was the topography. One grape had been harvested from a hillside and the other grape a valley. It was exciting to taste the difference.
The final course was also rich and decadent. Grilled tenderloin of beef with summer truffle risotto and grilled Japanese eggplant. The beef was cooked to perfection and if I was alone I would’ve licked the risotto off the plate.
We finished with a peach melba pudding with Madagascar vanilla sauce that ended the meal on a delightful note. The wine pairing really outshone the dessert though, Chateau D’Yquem ’03, a brilliant and elegant wine.
As the meal wound down, chef joined us for a glass of wine and shared some thoughts on cooking and trends around food. He’s very excited about the growth of Asian food in America and how our interest in Chinese cuisine has expanded to Thai and Vietnamese foods.
Speaking as a self-described “global chef,” he told us beef jerky is his favorite guilty pleasure food, as it is ubiquitous to all cultures, and that he would love to cook for Nelson Mandela.