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James Beard Awards: As gala food goes, Avenues' tangerine lace proves sturdier than it sounds

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By guest blogger and New York writer Seanan Forbes:

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For the gala, Curtis Duffy, chef de cuisine of Avenues at the Peninsula Chicago, 108 E. Superior, served king crab in cucumber consomme, with wild steelhead roe, kalamansi and tangerine lace.

Michael Muser, Avenues' wine director, says that there were some problems with the lace - not making it, but getting it from Chicago to New York. The lace, which is made with three kinds of sugar, is extremely fragile. Not only is it prone to breakage, but it also melts at the drop of . . . well, at a drop of anything.

To get it to Lincoln Center, they wrapped it in cellophane, put it in Tupperware tubs and gave one tub to each member of the Avenues team -- and each one got stopped by security at the airport. They had to unwrap the sugar lace and show it to security guards . . . again and again. No worries, though. They got here - crew, fish, dishes and delicate sugar lace.

At Avenues, the presentation is in glass. The gala compromise is plastic - but the dish still looks beautiful: bright and colorful and fresh. As to Duffy and his team, you'd never guess that they'd spent a day having their craft questioned by security guards. They look as cool as the cucumber in which their king crab swims.

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by Janet Rausa Fuller published on May 3, 2010 6:27 PM.

Beard Awards, Part One was the previous entry in this blog.

James Beard Awards: Avec's Koren Grieveson, best Great Lakes chef is the next entry in this blog.

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