DailyFoodandWine.com was proud to sponsor the first annual Black Crystal Cocktail Soiree, as an exclusive group of handpicked foodies and oenophiles descended upon the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel for an opulent showcase of food, wine and one extraordinarily special spirit. The intimate gala was held in Gansevoort’s beautiful Presidential Suite, whose meld of uptown classic meets downtown cool provided the quintessential backdrop for this celebration. Attended byan eclectic blend of writers, artists, business professionals and highlyaccomplished entrepreneurs, this event was a classic display of New York City sophistication. Add to that an absolutely gorgeous Manhattan evening, and you have the recipe for an event to remember.
The stage was set by Jerry Sibal, the “go to” guy for events that require that one-of-a-kind, opulent panache. An internationally
celebrated, multi-talented designer, Sibal is making waves in affluent circles worldwide. One of the world’s premier event designers and
floral artisans, Sibal’s New York City-based firm, Design Fusion, was hand-picked to deliver a sophisticated flamboyance at an ultimate
fete — the wedding of the Princess of Qatar.
The focal point of the evening was clearly the culinary mastery of the “Queen of Indian Fusion,” Celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan. The only Indian female to ever compete on Iron Chef and the recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award for Excellence, she is quickly becoming the darling of the Food Network. A true culinary master who continues to put a shine on the cutting edge, she is now a full-time judge on the hit show Chopped, which since her arrival has been nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award. Chef Chauhan’s cuisine, which has been highlighted at restaurants in Chicago and New York and is soon to be found at her newest venture in Nashville, has received exceptional reviews and platitudes from a vast array of significant publications. Upon arrival, guests were greeted with a glass of the multi-award winning Chateau Frank Blanc de Noirs (2006). With 29 Gold medals, this selection from the highly regarded Finger Lakes winery seemed to set the table for what was to come — a culinary extravaganza that would have people talking for weeks.
We started our epicurean journey by diving into some of Chef Chauhan’s cold appetizers, including a trio of Peppercorn Gazpachos
(strawberry black pepper, tomatillo with pickled green peppers and pineapple pink peppercorn), a Lobster, Ginger and Jicama Roll
and Kumomoto Oysters (with champagne gelee, garam masala and jalapeño foam). The presentations were exquisite and the flavor
profiles were beautifully paired with a 2010 Jean Marc Brocard Chablis Premier Cru Vaulorent — a stellar beginning.
Next up, Chef Chauhan dazzled the crowd with the NY Strip Chimichurri Crostini and Truffled Pork and Chicken Pate. Elegantly
accentuated with a 2007 Williams Seylem Pinot Noir, this pairing had even the most sophisticated foodies on their toes, as these masterpieces came to life and danced on the palate like a 90-pound ballerina. As we took a breather between courses, we were lulled into submission by the swirling sounds of Soliloquy, New York Jazz Academy’s celebrated duo. The elegance and sheer decadence of this event created a truly heady experience as an unforgettable evening was unfolding right before our eyes. Chef Chauhan’s arrival at the cooking station in preparation for the evening’s hot dishes, was akin to a rock star taking the stage. Her culinary prowess proceeded to mesmerize this intimate group as she seamlessly delivered Charred Sweet Corn Bisque (with cumin shrimp),Malai Mint Chicken Sliders, Shredded Tamarind Ribs (with goat cheese in filo cups), and Curried Sea Scallops (atop a pea puree with piquillo salsa). The exclusive 2006 Titus Napa Valley Lot 1 mingled thoughtfully with this array of flavors and was a perfect segue for one of Chef Chauhan’s specialties — dessert! The delicately sweet and smoky richness of Ron Abuelo’s Centuria make it quite simply the best rum I have ever had the pleasure to imbibe, and it sent the already high-as-a-kite crowd to even more significant elevations. This was the ultimate compliment to a delightful array of desserts, including Gajar Halwa Tarts, Mission Figs (stuffed with aged mimolette cheese and spiced cashews with fennel butterscotch sauce), Hot Chocolate Chai Mousse, and Burnt Orange Kheer (rice pudding with basil citrus pomegranate salad) — a superlative ending to what was certainly an epic event.
If you can land a place on this invitation-only guest list, consider yourself lucky, as this is a food and wine lover’s paradise.
By Doug Singer for Jetset Magazine