Most memorable meal

I'm a contestant in a Seattle home cook "master chef" type event (see Kitchen Circus on Facebook) and am looking for inspiration. I have to be prepared to cook an appetizer, entree and dessert of four star restaurant quality. I know I can count on all the amazing wisdom on this site for help: what is the most memorable meal you've ever eaten?



SeaJambon June 25, 2013
Hi all -

Wanted to let you know that they are getting ready to release the show -- go to "Kitchen Circus" on Facebook and you'll see some of the pre-release publicity (including trailers). My understanding is that the full season will be released in late July all at once (so those of us who like to watch everything at once -- rather than an episode a week -- can).

As a "teaser" here's a picture of the dessert I made the first evening that won that round.
mensaque December 6, 2012
Will you still gonna be that sweet when you become a TV star?Congrats!
beyondcelery December 6, 2012
HUGE congratulations and very well-deserved! Great job, Seajambon. I can't wait to watch you work your culinary magic on TV. =)
SeaJambon December 5, 2012
I promised a wrap-up, and here it is: after the whole Kitchen Circus reality show competition finished, I placed second. My "Pan Seared Herb Encrusted Salmon with a Huckelberry-Rosemary Reduction and Curried Butternut Squash Puree" came in second to a Mushroom Bisque with cheese and sage popovers. Thank you all for your well wishes, suggestions and good thoughts. While it would have been great to win, coming in second in this competition (it started with over 40 home cooks) is pretty sweet. And, keep your fingers crossed -- after editing over the next few weeks, the producers will pitch it to various food network types -- I could still be famous! :)
Panfusine December 5, 2012
Congratulations Seajambon.. well deserved! and hope to see you on a cooking show soon!
SKK December 5, 2012
An accomplishment to be proud of! Congratulations. We will be seeing you on TV, no doubt about it. And thank you for including us in this adventure of yours.
mensaque November 9, 2012
Thanks,SJ.Can't wait to try this...but I'll have to wait anyway,cause it's really hard to find pomegranates in Brazil till late december.To eat 7 seeds in New Years Eve is supposed to bring you luck,so...
SeaJambon November 9, 2012
@mensaque - recipe: Dark Chocolate Mousse is from Julia Child's Way to Cook, substituting dark chocolate for semi sweet. Cookie was based on a recipe I found somewhere for a fortune cookie, with a small amount reserved, colored with orange food coloring, and piped in a swirl on the cookie dough (actually, more of a batter) before baking, also sprinkling with shaved chocolate. Bake. Pull out and shape over a shot glass in a fluted pattern while flexible and before cooling. Pom-orange is pom juice, 2 envelopes of gelatin, some orange zest, allowed to set until semi-firm. Cream sauce is whipped cream, whipped and added to marscapone until desired consistency (stir don't whip; whipping creates butter), with pom-orange added to desired flavor. Zest orange and place on top of cream. Pipe remaining pom-orange on plate to decorate. Sprinkle with pom seeds. Wish I could be more precise, but there was a whole lot of "until it tastes right" going on as I was putting it together. I had made and used pomegranate-orange jelly (Ball recipe) at home, but was told in the kitchen I couldn't use any premades. So, had to make do with a gelatin based substitute. Frankly, it didn't work as well and I wasn't nearly as happy with the result, but it was obviously "good enough". :)

@luvcookbooks - I'll take a look -- have to admit I haven't completely figured out the Pinterest thing, but am delighted to support if I can get beyond my techno-limits...
luvcookbooks November 8, 2012
this is somewhat off topic but I am a semi finalist for a contest on Pinterest-- the Mobile Skillet app contest. My entry is the Concord GrapePie with Orange Zest and Walnuts, also here on Food 52. There are lots of interesting recipes in the contest, so if you are interested, take a look. If you like my recipe, you can repin it, like it, and/or comment on it.
mensaque November 8, 2012
I second that!Also,you must post the recipe here on Food52 asap,please!xoxo.
SeaJambon November 8, 2012
Thanks Mensaque -- they are planning to pitch the show to a couple of different networks to see if they can get someone to pick it up. If not, they'll make it a web series. Either way, they won't start editing until early next year, so it won't be available until Spring or so. I'll let folks know when I know more.
SKK November 8, 2012
@SeaJambon - you will keep us updated please? Of course you must win. And photos would be nice :)
mensaque November 8, 2012
Hi,SJ.Great news,congratulations!!!Chocolate mousse is my favorite dessert,I want to lick the screen right now cause your version sounds amazing!No wonder you won...Will it be possible to watch the finale on-line?
mensaque November 8, 2012
Hi,SJ.Great news,congratulations!!!Chocolate mousse is my favorite desert,I want to lick the screen right now cause your version sounds amazing!No wonder you won...Will it be possible to watch the finale on-line?
bigpan November 8, 2012
1. pureed' leek soup with a poached egg hidden under the soup (2 star michelin in Italy)
2. braised asparagus with breaded poached egg on top (NYCIty)
3. slow braised pork belly on a bed of creamed peaches&cream corn with duck fat mashed yukon gold potato (Napa)
4. fresh warm zabaglione on a bed of fresh berries (my house)
beyondcelery November 7, 2012
@SeaaJambon: WOW! Huge congrats! That's so awesome! Your dessert sounds and looks amazing. Best of luck on your next round! I know you'll be great. =)
SeaJambon November 7, 2012
OMG! I'm slapping my forehead with my hand! Can't believe I forgot the huge THANK YOU!! For everyone who "liked" me at Kitchen Circus on Facebook -- it made a difference! I won the popular vote, which allowed me to pick my course. Having an unrepentant sweet tooth (and NEVER underestimate the power of chocolate!), I went with dessert. Thank you so much -- this Food52 community is fabulous. :)
SeaJambon November 7, 2012
Hi all - reporting back - Last night was round three of four, and I won! So, thank you all for the well wishes and keep your fingers crossed for the finale (December 4th). My winning dish? Well, a reimagined classic -- dark chocolate mousse, in an almond butter cookie shell, topped with pomegranate-orange mascarpone cream, garnished with pom seeds, orange zest, and pom-orange sauce. I've attached a "practice" picture as I didn't have a camera last night...
SeaJambon October 19, 2012
Thanks SKK! Yes, I would love to have as many votes as possible from my Food52 friends! I love this site and all the wisdom that you all share so willingly -- so, a vote for me is really a vote for us! As SKK says, go to Kitchen Circus on facebook, and I'm Beth Rutherford -- "like" me. [and with those simple strokes of the keyboard, SeaJambon's secret identity was revealed...]
SKK October 19, 2012
Just found out we can vote for SeaJambon for Kitchen Circus. Go to Kitchen Circus Facebook page and like Beth Rutherford's bio. Go Beth!
SeaJambon October 18, 2012
Ben - there is no doubt that is a memorable meal!! Can't imagine making it for my four star restaurant competition except maybe on Halloween. It actually all sounds pretty good except the bug part would have gotten a pretty big "ewww" factor from me! (although I still would have tried it ... or at least I think I would have!)
Ben P. October 18, 2012
In an effort to entertain and educate some of my friends about "weirder" food items, I made the following menu a couple weeks ago (intended to be a Halloween meal but got moved up):

- "Heart Beet Salad" = sliced pork heart, red beets, arugula, dried crickets and grubs for croutons, w/ choice of dill pickle vinaigrette or beet balsamic reduction for dressing
- Squid Ink Risotto with Shrimp, Yellow Bell Pepper, and Green Onion Oil
- "Make Your Own" Beef Tongue Tacos - served as a whole tongue (with tongs for pulling) with blue corn torillas, queso fresco, radishes, pickles, peppers, a homemade spice blend (in a shaker), NC style vinegar BBQ sauce, mint Greek yogurt, harissa honey, and god knows what else I found in my fridge
- Olive Oil Gelato (Batali's recipe from Otto - I considered it cheating a little to use a recipe but it was totally worth it), topped with black sea salt
- Take home gift: lollipops w/scorpions in them

It might have just been all the wine pairings but the dinner got rave reviews.
SeaJambon October 18, 2012
Pegeen - thank you for sharing - what a riot! And I totally remember the scene where Gigi eats the Ortolan while receiving lessons from her Great Aunt (from the move Gigi).
Pegeen October 18, 2012
@SeaJambon - In "Gigi"? Really? I don't remember that! Thanks for the Netflix idea.

Best of luck with the competition! And let us know what you decide to make.
Pegeen October 17, 2012
p.s. My bad! President of France (not prime minister).
Pegeen October 17, 2012
Whenever someone asks me about a "most memorable" dining experience, all I can think of is this story about the former French prime minister Mitterand's reputed last meal and wonder about the chef who prepared it.
ChefJune October 19, 2012
Oh my! The ortolans from Babette's feast!!!
luvcookbooks October 14, 2012
When I was a small, fat toddler, my family and another family we were friends with and some visitors of theirs all got on a train and went far away. Then we got off the train and had a large and elaborate picnic. On the way home, one of the visitors, who as from India and wore a turban, gave me some gumdrops. It was my first crush and most memorable meal.
JanetFL October 13, 2012
The most memorable meal for me was at a restaurant in Seattle many years ago - I don't remember the name. It was very fresh salmon grilled over an open alderwood fire - simple and never to be forgotten!
mensaque October 13, 2012
You red my mind,cause I was just thinking that I should have told you that the apricots were dried.I had those at a wedding reception so it's not my recipe(I wish it were,cause it was fabulous!),but I guess you could process the brie with a bit of olive oil,then mix it with mayo(to make your own might impress the judges)and white pepper.Try ahead and let me know if it worked well.I hope it helps you win!
SeaJambon October 13, 2012
Menasque - apricots would need to be dried (fresh not available locally this late in the year) -- would that work? And how would you make a brie mousse?
mensaque October 12, 2012
Apricots filled with brie mousse finished with walnuts,gorgonzola raviolli,and cinnamon ice cream on banana flambé.Good luck and let us now how it goes!
mensaque October 12, 2012
I just thought of this...don't know if it would work or if you will like it,but if you do you can try to develop the idea for the amuse bouche:a blinis with some berries on the batter(cranberries,maybe) and some sort of mousse or foam(again,some brie for a bittersweet effect) on top to work as "glue" for an organic rose petal holding caviar as a shell.
pierino October 12, 2012
Last year I connected with one of my friends who happens to be an author and food editor while she was in LA. It was her birthday and she had to spend a dismal weekend at a food show in Anaheim. So I made arrangements for us to go to Providence on Melrose Ave in LA.

Day of the dinner, she was nagging me about "can't we go here, can't we go there?" The "theres" were all closed on that evening. I said, essentially, "knock it off because I've got this all worked out."

I picked her up at her friend's house and we stopped off at AOC for a bit of prosecco and some small bites. And then she decided we should check out Dog Gone down the street (there is no pleasing this girl). So we looked in and it was packed and incredibly loud. So I said, come on get in the car. She, "but I'm not dressed for a two star Michelin restaurant." Don't worry, this is LA.

Providence, impeccable service from start to finish. We ordered appetizers and as an amuse bouche we received these little parmigiano foams that were served almost like espresso. I have to figure out how to do that.

The only problem was that both of us wanted the same main course; the pasta alla chittarra with uni. Spectacularly good. Normally we trade bites, but we each went with our own. And then a lot of little things started coming out of the kitchen including a little birthday surprise.

At the end of the meal she said, "I'm glad we came here." Happy birthday to you.
SeaJambon October 12, 2012
Wow!! These are GREAT! My mouth is watering -- which is EXACTLY what I need. :)
beyondcelery October 11, 2012
Congratulations! You must tell us how it goes! Good luck. =) A few meals come to mind for me:

- Scotch Salmon at The Ark restaurant in Long Beach, WA. My parents used to take us kids on a vacation every year that meant driving to this restaurant (from California) and eating one amazing meal.
- The Moroccan Bisteeya my parents made for Christmas one year, probably around 1998. I remember making it as much as eating it. It's quite an undertaking, but the mix of flavors with each layer is heavenly. This dish (and baklava) is the reason I'm working on gluten-free filo dough.
- A picnic lunch, made by my friend's mother, that we ate at Lago di Garda in northern Italy: cold risotto salad with bits of ham, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, peas, and olives; prosciutto di meloni for dessert.
ChefJune October 19, 2012
beyond celery: I have another dish for your gluten free filo: Galactoboureko.
beyondcelery October 19, 2012
@ChefJune: Oh yes. You're so right! That's actually my husband's favorite dessert. I just have to figure out how to do the filo dough (really, the warka leaves) in a way that doesn't take 4 hours of standing over a hot griddle.
ChefJune October 11, 2012
Twenty and 1/2 years ago at the then 2* Leon de Lyon in Lyon France:

Cardoon Raviolo in vegetable broth
Pike Quenelles in Sauce Nantua
Roast Pigeoneau (Pigeon!) with root vegetables
Pear Souffle with fresh Pear Coulis.

I can still taste that food as I write it down. Truly memorable.
Panfusine October 11, 2012
Most memorable restaurant meal..Mela, an Indian Restaurant on Shaftesbury ave. in London (the west end).. the best north Indian food I've ever had. way back in 2005.. The taste memory si still fresh in my mind after 7 years,How many restaurants can you remember so clearly after so much time.. the Punjabi kadi, the Choley & best of all the Ragda Patty that we ordered as an appetizer.
aargersi October 11, 2012
Here's mine:

On a trip to Italy, staying in Montalcino with good friends. We went to this little place and I am pretty sure someone's mama was manning the kitchen ... arugula with braesola, lemon, olive oil and shaved parmesan to start. Hand rolled gnochhi with butter and shaved truffles - the whole place smelled AMAZING. A side of eggplant parmesan made the Tuscan way (VERY similar to Nancy Jo's on this site but no cheese in the middle). A bottle of brunello. Panna cotta with honey and espresso at the end.

And all of that was just what I had ...
happy sigh
SeaJambon October 11, 2012
These are all GREAT ideas! Thanks so much! Sigh, those that are so linked to place/time, may be a bit more challenging to replicate...

Keep the ideas coming!
jsdunbar October 11, 2012
My most memorable meal was eaten when I was on a group kayaking/camping trip off the NW cost of BC. Large fresh red salmon roasted in foil over a fire on the beach was the stuff of dreams
Sam1148 October 10, 2012
Actually, my most memorable meal was from 'disaster' a big snow storm that took out power for a week..and roads where closed for days.

We had heat in the form of a wood fireplace, and a couple of the neighbors came over to stay and sleep in the fireplace room. And a freezer with a rapidly defrosting whole chicken.
(the other stuff was used in stews on day 2--at day 5 the chicken was deployed--it was outside in 34 temps tho). We where sick of stew at that point.

That chicken was rubbed with lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and stuffed with onions..and skewered on these nifty 1/2 wide middle eastern swords (okay, cheap sheat metal). Propped up on the side of the oak, hickey fireplace and very slow roasted and turned occasionally. We also threw in some flat bricks in the coals and used a moter and pestle to take turns pounding some canned chickpeas, thahini, olive oil, garlic, into a rough hummus.
And made some balls of dough to bake flat bread on the flat hot fireplace bricks--the charcoal bits on that made it even more rustic and yummy. (of course being really hungry and land locked helped on that too---along with 3 bottles of rum, and 3 bottles of vodka and reading Jame Joyce out-loud. Which is best enjoyed very drunk).
It was all caveman 'hands' food..and Sooo good.

QueenSashy October 10, 2012
One of my most memorable meals was in the Greek village of Ano Mera, on the island of Mykonos -- spit roasted meats, grilled fish, stuffed eggplants and a variety of vegetables. On the village square, under the nightsky full of stars. And it ended with the most heavenly ekmek kadayifi. As I suspect that you might not want to replicate the spit roasts -- my runner up is Nobu's Black Cod with Miso. Many years ago, when I could finally afford to eat at a high-end restaurant, Nobu was the first restaurant I went to. This dish stayed with me... I come back to Nobu from time to time, just because of it, and keep on falling in love...

Good luck with the competition!
boulangere October 10, 2012
My most recent most memorable meal was First Night in Florence Spaghetti. 4-star flavors.
Congratulations, and please let us know what you prepare and what the results are!
Sam1148 October 10, 2012
Doing the full 20 course Japaneese meal I most remember would be prohibitive. (from a Hotel Nikko...back in the 90's when it was owned by the Japaneese and had a great resturant).

I really like Grilled Halibut (no skin) with a Chimichurri sauce..for main course. You could use that a departure point. With extra plating ideas---maybe on a pool of seasoned polenta with good benton ham matchstick cut and fried, and mushrooms on top of the Chimichurri sauce.
FutureChef October 10, 2012
At Tailor in NYC-chef Sam Mason

-pork belly with miso butterscotch sauce
-chocolate cake with candied mushrooms
-ants on a log-celery sorbet, Pb powder, raisin foam
-grapefruit tart

Blue Hill at Stone Barnes
-roasted bone marrow and blood crumble
-fresh cows milk ricotta and the most amazing bread--milk has to be unpasteurized for best ricotta

- lamb 'steak' (transglutsminase)- with pistachio polenta

DGBG kitchen--soho
-parfait- pistachio, blueberry, mint, chocolate

Telula's garden-Philly
-mushroom pate en croute, speck, quail egg

Friend's mexican grandma
-toast, ham, egg, fried cheese, best salsa verde ever

-bobby flay flavor profile with mad mex heavy cream technique so you get spoon bread texture

Bar Americain
-blackberry souffle with blackberry crime anglsise poured over table side

Baltimore candy bar and red velvet
-by Chris ford at wit & wisdom/pabu

Dangerously delicious pie
-basically a turtle inside of a pie crust... Caramel pastry cream, pecans, chocolate ganache

Rl42--oatmeal raisin ice cream
LucyS October 12, 2012
I live in Philly and have been to most of the Starr restaurants but I haven't tried Talula's garden! And it's right around the corner. Do you recommend it in general?
Kristen M. October 10, 2012
Most memorable meal: Fatty brisket and sausage on brown paper, with white bread, hot sauce, Shiner Bock, and a table knife (no forks allowed) at Smitty's Market in Lockhart, TX. Not four star quality, but it might as well have been.
aargersi October 11, 2012
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