Park Hyatt Chicago

Monday, April 23, 2007

Chef Rotisseur Christophe David* - Executive Chef


Park Hyatt Dinner of Culinary Artistry

By Jane Tracy, Bailli de Chicago

The Chicago Bailliage experiences many culinary trends from diverse perspectives, and on April 23rd the Park Hyatt Chicagocrafted a subtle, sophisticated and elegant series of dishes. This dinner represented a culturally French aspect in that nothing was loud, and every dish possessed a slight and discreet inference.  There was an innate artistic character to the dinner that the Park Hyatt team had complemented by decorating the Grand Salon in a very urbane and abstract fashion.  Rectangular, bare, oak tables had an Asian ambience to them; pin spot lights shone down upon glasses, centerpieces and china.  Tall glass structures housing candles shone up giving off a soft light.  It was a recreation of NoMI and gave off a residential feel. 

Chef Rôtisseur Christophe David crafted his personal first dinner for the Chicago Chapter having transferred in from Park Hyatt, Place Vendome in Paris to become Executive Chef in Chicago.  Having made his debut with Lucas Carton and Taillevent in Paris, Chef David, from Dijon, had also trained regularly at the famous three-star restaurant of Paul Bocuse and is understandably conscious of the symbolism of his region of France.

It was our Chapter’s fourth black tie dinner at this property – the first being in 2001 – and we feted the Park Hyatt Chicago as it approached its 7th Anniversary this coming July.  Maitre Hotelier and General Manager Rick Segal extended a warm welcome to us. 

The geography of the dinner epitomized an inherent and natural ability for the refined palate to carefully evaluate the pairings and wine/food decisions.  The chilled Maine lobster was presented diagonally across the plate and the tasting process started as diners slowly dissected the tender meat of this noble crustacean.  A 2004 Saint-Aubin Langoureau 1er Cru “En Remilly” was clean on the palate before food and enhanced the palate as the influence of the lobster’s garnishes changed it.

A dessert spoon, balanced across the soup bowl, contained a hedonistic amount of Osetra caviar for our second course.  Stirring it into the cream of watercress soup with a lemon crème fraîche quenelle bobbing up and down, declared this course to be the substance of art. 

The first blond morels of the year from Michigan accompanied a roasted filet of turbot, its sauce component of a Vin Jaune extended into our wine glass with a Cote du Jura, Rijckaert “Les Sarres” 2004.  During the first half of this dinner we had seen sleek lines and avant-garde aesthetics.  A sous vide treatment of Pennsylvania duck apicius reinforced the predilection for Chef’s tightly focused accent on the purity of flavors on the plate, and an artisan Roquefort of Carles with pear carpaccio lent an almost Italian style to this cheese course.

Maître Hôtelier Rick Segal introduced his team. Accolades were ebullient reinforcing the fact that we had experienced a most alluring evening in an unfailingly classical way, with just the right amount of French contemporary influence at the centre of it.