You will often hear the term “Louisville’s restaurant community.” There’s no better way to describe the atmosphere that existed on March 9 at Dean Corbett’s “An American Place.”
“When we walked in the door, we were greeted by a woman from Sysco. And then, just a few minutes later, a server brought us a glass of wine — her jacket said ‘Rivue,’ ” said LouisvilleHotBytes forum member Jay Mazzoni, who attended the $150-a-plate event with his wife Karen. “It was that way all evening,” he went on. People from many different restaurants, the area’s top chefs — competitors on any other night — working together to create an evening of dining unparalleled in recent Louisville foodie history.
Chefs from the city’s top restaurants joined with servers, bussers and service personnel from the area’s food service industry, suppliers and distributors, coming together on a magical evening for a fundraising benefit — an evening of dining and camaraderie that netted over $13,000 to the Daniel F. Boyle Memorial Fund, for the family of Danny Boyle, former Advertising Director of Food and Dining magazine, who passed away suddenly last October.
The chefs: John Castro, Michael Crouch, Jay Denham, Chris Howerton, Anthony Lamas, Fernando Martinez, Todd Richards, Allan Rosenberg, Anoosh Shariat and Nick Sullivan.
The supporting cast: Corbett’s “An American Place” staff, Troy Ritchie, Carrie Crouch, Kevin Rice and Cesar Perez-Ribas; chefs Duane Nutter, Rafael Hernandez, Christina Martinez; servers Robin Bernsen, Michelle Cooper, Becky Dyer, Tina Hardison, Shelly Hernandez, John Irk, Kenny Munday, Mike Nichols, Melanie Silbernik, Andrea Thorton, and Jacqui Van Ham.
“Flawlessly pulling off a nine- course meal in a restaurant they had never worked in is a true sign of a pro,” says John White, publisher of Food and Dining magazine, who conceived and organized the event.
The nine-course meal: Peruvian striped-bass seviche from Chef Anthony Lamas of Seviche. Pan-seared diver scallops with smoked bacon truffled shrimp sauce and a butter-poached lobster claw from Chef Michael Crouch of Bourbon’s Bistro. “Mason-Dixon Line Cornbread Hushpuppy” with a pipette of pot liquor, a crawfish-and-andouille “madeleine” from The Oak Room’s Todd Richards. Chef Anoosh Shariat bringing on the fourth course, vegetarian: an ancho-roasted sweet potato with baby spinach, followed with a fifth course palate-cleanser, a chili sorghum sorbet created by Chef John Castro of Winston’s.
Onward: Seviche chef Allan Rosenberg with “sopes” with roasted pork shoulder, guajillo chili sauce and pickled red onions. Chef Jay Denham of Park Place, bringing diners a course of chocolate chili bison short rib, grit cake and Kentucky grass-fed beef strip sirloin with Kentucky mushrooms, sweetbreads and Madeira sauce.
Then a Spanish goat-cheese flan from Chef Fernando Martinez of Mojito — a course fondly remembered by a number of the evening’s diners — and, finally, Corbett’s chefs Chris Howerton and Nick Sullivan, with “mignardises” — little after-dinner chocolates and jellies.
What a meal! Each course was paired with a wine donated by a local distributor — Mazzoni rhapsodized about the Mouton Rothschild wine paired with the seventh-course sirloin. Distributors donating wines induded BMK, Brown-Forman, Cutting Edge, W. J. Deutsch, RNDC and SWS.
There was no reserved seating. The 85 attendees were told to sit wherever they wanted. Those lucky enough to snare seats in the “TV Room” were treated to watching the flat-panel screens in their dining area which relayed live video of chefs from Louisville’s top restaurants all working together in the kitchen. “Amazing, just amazing,” said one diner who was able to watch. Corbett’s is the only restaurant in the region to have a video setup like this, where diners can watch their meal being prepared and talk back and forth via video with the chefs preparing it.
“Not only did these very hard working folks volunteer their time but they would not accept tips,” said White.
A server who found a $40 tip on her table at the end of the evening made her way over to White and handed the money to him. “Make sure this gets to Danny’s family,” she told him.
The evening also included a silent auction, with items arranged in groups or singly through the downstairs rooms of the restaurant. All during the evening, guests trooped downstairs to bid on the items, ranging from bottles of high-end wine to getaway weekends to complimentary dinners at top restaurants.
Contributions may still be made to the Daniel F. Boyle Memorial Fund, via any area Stock Yards Bank.
— reporting by Mary Johnson.