I was at Charlie Trotter’s 20th Anniversary celebration last weekend, described here on time.com, which featured six chefs who are among the most famous in the world and who flew in from all parts of the globe to prepare a course for a $5,000 per plate dinner ($250,000 will be donated to Trotter’s educational fund used to support and educate young culinarians). Among other things, the actual courses were fascinating in that they demonstrated the varying styles of each chef. The whole meal was amazing, but my favorite course (and others’ favorite) was Heston Blumenthal’s seascape, which arrived with iPod headphones uncoiling out of a large welk. When I heard about this—listening to the sounds of the seaside while you eat a shellfish dish—cute, but gimmicky, but ok, if you say so. BUT: When I put those headphones on and stared at what really did look like seascape, with seafoam on sand, seaweed, oyster clam and urchin, I grinned, widely. And it was delicious. What I thought was going to be a gimmick was remarkably effective. Decanter.com has a story here and a shot of Blumenthal plating the dish. Brilliant dish. This article disses Pierre Herme’s dessert of, I believe it was mascarpone and pea puree with actual peas and corn and popcorn. It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, period, notable especially for its great balance of flavors and subdued sweetness. David Myers of Sona, whom Trotter asked to do the canapés (he’s a Trotter and Boulud alum), is probably the only chef not in the above chefs league fame-wise, but talent-wise, he’s very much in their league, and I’m hoping more and more people know about him. He’s opening a second restaurant this month, a two-minute walk from Sona. If any Los Angelenos read this, I’d love to know how the new place is.
Of the many questions I asked Chef Trotter, one was about the internet and bloggers. Trotter, as with every single chef I spoke with for this column in Restaurant Hospitality, did not have mixed feelings.