This post was submitted by guest contributor Robert L. Spinrad.
Not your typical dinner at Bubby’s.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the Ballroom At The Ben was host to the 3rd Annual Bubby’s Cook-Off. The cook-off, which is Philly’s Premier Kosher Food & Wine Event, was an amazing event with an even more amazing cause – the proceeds went to support the programs and activities of the Lubavitch of Bucks County and the Friendship Circle. The event was emceed by Philadelphia Native Hope Cohen and honored James Beard Award-Winning Chef, Georges Perrier.
Upon arriving at the Ben Franklin House we were escorted to the elevator, taking us to the third floor. The event kicked off with a cocktail hour where the guests were served wines, provided by kosherwine.com, paired with some delectable hors d’oeuvres. We were served mini polentas that had a surprising, but a very welcome kick. The waiters also came around with mini Reuben sandwiches and mushroom tarts, and for someone who does not normally go for anything with mushrooms – I could not stop eating them.
As we made our way down to the Ballroom we were served a pig in a blanket, while the middle of the room featured a table with sesame noodles and dumplings. The highlight of the night was the five different tasting stations that featured kosher meals -paired with wines to complement the dishes – prepared by some of Philadelphia’s top chefs. Prior to eating the food, each of the chefs said a few words about the guest of honor; Chef Georges Perrier – most notably known for his sensational restaurant, Le Bec-Fin – and touched on how much of an impact Perrier had, and continues to have, on the budding Philadelphia food scene. Following that tribute was the moment we were all waiting for, time to eat!
Al Capasso, Chef/Partner of Crow & the Pitcher, prepared a Braised Baby Goat Shank that was as tender as could be. While goat meat is known to have very little fat to it, Capasso’s dish was packed full of flavor.
Chef Julie Kline, Chef de Cuisine at Alla Spina, prepared a Vichyssoise Soup with Oyster Mushroom Trifolati. The vichyssoise, which is a thick soup that is typically made of pureed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock, was served cold and had an oyster mushroom at the bottom. The soup was as easy on the eyes as it was on the taste buds. Here is a fun fact; Kline was also the first female head chef at a Vetri Family restaurant, which was very well deserved.
Next up was Michael Rouleau, Event & Catering Chef for Spraga Dining. Rouleau prepared a Crispy Lamb Leg with Baba Ganoush and Baby Gem Lettuce. In the recipe book that was given to all of the guests, the instructions for the lamb were to roast in the oven “until tender and falling off bone” – he nailed it. The lamb was roasted to perfection and had me yearning for more.
When it came time to try Chef Al Paris’ dish I was very excited because it was something I had never eaten before – Arctic Char. Paris, Chef & Proprietor of Paris Bistro, Heirloom & Green Soul, paired the char with Sumac-Soy & Date Confit. The fish had a look and taste very similar to salmon, only sweeter. The candy-like dish really stood out on a night where the meal was dominated by meat.
And finally, the dish that made Bubby’s Cook-Off true to its name, Peter Woolsey’s Brisket a la Provencal. Woolsey, Chef & Proprietor of Bistrot La Minette/ La Peg, slow-cooked the meat for more than two hours, leaving us with slices of tender, flavorful brisket.
Bubby’s Cook-Off was a hit. From the food and wine pairings to the silent auction and guest of honor – it was a flavorful night to remember. We left with full stomachs, a couple of cookies to go and the thought of next year’s event already in our minds.