Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Chef David Tallent to highlight Indiana specialties at James Beard dinner
Categories: Wine & Culinary
Reprinted from the Herald-Times with permission
by Carol Kugler
Chef David Tallent was busy sharpening his knives Monday afternoon while the rest of the staff at Restaurant Tallent was preparing for dinner rush. However, Tallent wasn't planning to be there to greet patrons, and he won't be at his restaurant this week.
Instead, he and four other Hoosier chefs and an Indiana bartender are heading to New York City for a special dinner Thursday at the James Beard House.
The dinner was the brainchild of R.J. Wall, founder of Chefs' Night Off Indy, who sets up Sunday dinners in Indianapolis and surrounding cities to showcase the talents of some of Indiana's best chefs. Wall has brought together chefs for dinners for the past year and a half and is excited that the chefs are getting more recognition in Indiana and nationally. But he wanted to do more.
"I kind of just called them (the James Beard House) and said I want to do this and when do you have a date open," Wall said. The official told him that they have not done much with Indiana chefs and had hoped to rectify that. So the Hoosier chefs will get a chance to showcase the best cuisine from Indiana for New York diners.
"I built this around a couple of guys, Tallent being one of them," Wall said. "There are Chicago restaurateurs who worked for Dave Tallent. I think that speaks volumes to his ability as a chef."
Wall has already had one Chefs' Night Out at Restaurant Tallent this past April. He hopes to do another one later this year.
Tallent said the chefs had to submit a menu before the event was fully confirmed. "We're all doing a dish with our specific style," he said. His dish will use Eli Creek smoked pork brisket, a fermented sweet corn and heirloom tomato salad and hot water corn cake. "I'm doing a play on a barbecue sandwich," Tallent said. He's using pork instead of beef brisket because it's from Indiana.
The reason for corn and tomatoes? "It's what we do in Indiana," he explained.
Tallent's dish will be the second course on the menu. He was very busy Monday preparing everything to ensure his first visit to the James Beard House would be a success.
The others included in the dinner are Jonathan Brooks, chef and owner of Milktooth in Indianapolis; Aaron Butts, of Joseph Decuis in Roanoke; Chris Eley, owner of Smoking Goose in Indianapolis; Pete Schmutte, pastry chef at Cerulean in Indianapolis; and Joshua Gonzales, barman at Thunderbird in Indianapolis.
What is the James Beard House?
James Beard was called the "dean of American cookery" by the New York Times in 1954. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program in 1946 and an early champion of local products and markets. After his death in 1985, a group of his friends and colleagues worked together to raise funds to purchase his house, where he welcomed students, authors, chefs and others to share food. On Nov. 5, 1986, the James Beard Foundation opened the James Beard House, where chefs from around the world can share food with others.
There are many special dinners with various themes at the house year-round. The Chefs' Night Off Indy dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $130 for members and $170 for the general public.