Monday, September 29, 2008
Deer Path Inn
Executive Chef Khellil Abderezak, Maitre Hotelier Michel Lama*
LAKE FOREST’S DEER PATH INN
By Jane Tracy, Bailli de Chicago
Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois is the terrain of Maitre Hotelier Michel Lama, its General Manager. Michel’s is the story of a career, of a vocation, the story of a man with such pride in the establishment he manages, that whoever chooses this property for a simple dinner between family and friends or a grandiose wedding, will always receive the same warm greeting. The same feeling of being his most wanted client.
The Bailliage de Chicago opened it 2008/2009 season of dinners at Deer Path Inn at the tail end of September. From the very first discussions about our dinner there was a driving ambition to succeed, a huge capacity to co-ordinate all aspects of our evening which built a solid foundation of trust, creativity and, of course, imagination.
A sushi/sashimi station presented by Chef Seang Lao started the evening and from there we moved into The English Room with tables elegantly arranged in a “U” shape. Chef Khellil Abderezak had designed a five course menu and within the menu “duos” emerged; how the same foods, treated differently, bring diverse results; how two very different carpaccios can be paired with the same wine; how two wines can be paired with one course raising our awareness of the endless ways foods and wines complement one another. There was an interaction between Chef and the diners. His dishes were exquisitely executed and covered wide-ranging sensations from in-house cured Tasmanian King Salmon carpaccio, to pan seared Halibut with lobster reduction prepared “à la minute”. The classic inclusion of squab was served with two Pinot Noirs – a Tantara Santa Maria Valley, Solomon Hills Vineyard 2003 and a South African Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Walker Bay 2003.
For our main course a roast Colorado rack of lamb with the unusual ingredient of Fricah – roasted hand-cracked green wheat was paired with a 1986 Chambolle-Musigny, Domaine Robert Groffier “Amoureuses”. Accolades were vigorous and our autumnal evening opened Chicago Chapter’s new season of dinners.
Michel Lama’s famed hospitality precedes him with his buoyant personality and dedication to culinary integrity and friendship around the table. He is a true bon vivant and perfectionist who loves what he does; and it shows. We, in the Chicago Chapter, are proud of his twelve year membership and hope for twelve more.