Monday, April 20, 2009

Executive Chef Jean Joho* / Thierry Tritsche


Scaling Culinary Heights at Everest

By Ethel Gofen, Dame de la Chaîne

We love to return to Chef Jean Joho’s Alsatian-inspired Everest remembering past Chicago Châine dinners in this beautiful restaurant, each a pinnacle of perfection. Our April 2009 Champagne reception featured a variety of Alsatian charcuterie and smoked salmon paired with Champagne Drouin Marmet Brut NV Charvot. that has spent one year in the barrel.  Its fruity/yeasty tones brought a comforting experience. Chevalier Todd Fisher led a toast to the chef and to our guests as we surveyed a spectacular West view of darkening clouds over areas of clear blue sky above the emerging city lights.

In preparation for this great dinner, our chapter offered wines from our cellar to Chef Joho, and he created his menu to complement each one. For the elegant Pouilly-Fumé, Blanchet Cuvée Silice 2007, he brought forth a beautiful mosaic of seafood en gelée served with Melfor – an idiosyncratic Alsatian vinegar. A delicious preparation of smoked Artic char on pasta with cabbage in a paprika bouillon was paired with the Riesling, Domaine Weinbach Cuvée Théo 2006 which held up beautifully to the smoked char and paprika.  The excellent Echézeaux, Domaine des Perdrix 1996 paired beautifully with a fabulous vintage carnaroli risotto with sea scallops and sweetbreads. A coveted Château Latour 1985 and Les Forts de Latour 1989 showed off a tender slow-braised breast of duck with turnip confit in a cabernet reduction. Traditional flavorings from Colmar reinforced the uniqueness of this capital of Alsatian wine and included poppy seed in the pasta, cardamom in the duck preparation and small lardons of bacon gently wrapped in small amounts of cabbage and turnip confit. 

Perhaps the most essentially Alsatian combination was the perfect melding of Alsace Munster encased in afingerling potato, a unique and flavorful cheese course creatively paired withour wine from that region, the big Gewürztraminer, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Herrenweg Turckheim 2005. A Grand Cru Château Myrat Sauternes 2003 was a dream match for the fantastic pineapple soufflé served outside the soufflé dish and enhanced with a sauternes sabayon.  Vice-Échanson/Caviste Simeon Y. Roldan gave his usual expert wine commentary with details of the history, location, and size of the various vineyards, their soil composition and the types of grapes used.

Bailli Jane Tracy introduced Chef Joho and congratulated him on this series of amazing pairings and for his personal involvement.  She honored his continuous enrichment of the Chicago culinary scene over the past 22 years, always evolving while preserving the best of his traditions. He enthused, “We need people who enjoy food, enjoy wine, and enjoy life!” and then introduced his sommelier and staff, who had so skillfully orchestrated another great evening at Everest.