The Jew And The Carrot

A Muddled Cultural Feast

By Devra Ferst

  • Print
  • Share Share

7 Chefs. 7 Wines. 7 Artists.

It sounds like the perfect all-star afternoon, or the beginning of a highly competitive television series. Rather, these were the components of the first annual “Cultural Feast” lunch at the Schmooze Conference on January 11 at City Winery in New York City. The lunch featured seven different Jewish artists, each of a different medium, seven skilled kosher chefs and seven kosher wines from New Zealand to France. The idea was to pair each course with “a nibble of culture and [a] taste of wine,” said organizer of the lunch Michael Dorf.

True to his roots, Dorf, whose City Winery makes a number of wines in-house, and hosts wine pairing and tasting events, developed the concept of the meal around the arc of wines typically served at tasting meals. We “start with lighter wine and move to robust red wine, then dessert wine,” he said.

To that, he added performers and artists who were participating in the conference plus dishes prepared by some of New York’s most skilled kosher chefs. In the end, though, the meal and artistic presentations didn’t follow the arc as successfully as the wine. (One dish, chili and chocolate short ribs, wasn’t even served when organizers realized other chefs had slated dairy courses both before and after it. Two somewhat similar arugula salads also appeared during the meal).

The pairings between the comestibles and performances were tenuous at best. Comedian and actress Jackie Hoffman kicked off the event as “a bubbly start” to the lunch, which was paired with a sparkling wine, a Herzog Blanc de Blanc Brut. For the second course, James Beard Award Winning Chef Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s matched a dish of green tea noodles with carrots, cashews and Napa cabbage to the noodle-like quality of Sidra Bell’s dance company, which performed during the course.

Perhaps the most effective grouping was a delicate Yemenite mushroom lentil salad prepared by Michael Gershkovich of Mike’s Bistro with Israeli and Yemini singer Achinoam Nini (NOA) and a fusion cab/merlot/cab franc blend by Segal. Apart from this course, however, the sensory overload of the program kept diners (or should we say viewers?) from truly being able to appreciate any of the art forms on display – edible, audible or observable.

In most of the courses, one of the players stole the show. The pinot noir made in-house with Oregon grapes showed City Winery’s adept skill at creating a complex kosher wine. Dan Lenchener, of Manna Catering, also impressed during the final course with his cheesecake with a shredded crispy kataifi crust, served with a Gewurztraminer during a screening of scenes from the documentary Budrus.

While the afternoon had its highlights, a great meal or performance deserves all of our attention. Eating or drinking well goes beyond taste. The smell, appearance, texture and even sound of our food influences how we experience it. Wine with its complimenting notes enhances that sensory experience. So too, good art and performance require the viewer or listener to engage with more than just sight or sound – the experience can evoke taste and feeling. By overwhelming the senses, we are unable to appreciate the meal or the art forms fully. Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many talented chefs, vintners and artists make for a vibrant but messy afternoon.

Menu

1st Course
Jackie Hoffman, Comedy
Arugula salad with poached pear, sliced almonds and Parmesan by Chef Scott Magram of My Most Favorite Food
Herzog Selection Black de Blanc Brut NV (France)

2nd Course
Sidra Bell Dance Company, Dance
Green tea noodles with carrot, Napa cabbage, cashews and wonton chips by Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s
Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (New Zealand)

3rd Course
Ari Roth, Theater
Arugula, micro green and endive salad with grilled portobello mushrooms and beets by Chef Boris Polesckuk of Pomegranate
City Winery Kosher Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon)

4th Course
Achinoam Nini (NOA), Music
Yemenite mushroom salad and mushroom pita slider by Chef Michael Gershkovich of Mike’s Bistro
Fusion by Segal Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc Blend 2009

5th Course
Joshua Henkin, Literature
Chili and chocolate Short with root vegetables by Chef and Owner Seth Warshaw from ETC Steakhouse in Teaneck, NJ (Not served) Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon California 2008

6th Course
Kfir Ziv, Photography
Terrine of Kiwi encased in a mango and a sparkling wine gel sitting on almond cake. Inspired by Jesse Blonder from the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Brooklyn.
Riesling Schmiessling, City Winery Dry Riesling 2009 (New York)

7th Course
Ronit Avni and Sandi Dubowski, Film
Cheesecake over kataifi dough with pomegranate seeds
Carmel Late Harvest Gewurztraminer from Sha’al


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: NOA, Michael Dorf, Cultural Feast, Jeff Nathan, Achinoam Nini, City Winery, Abigael's, Sidra Bell

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.