Dinner by Ian: A James Beard Semifinalist Who Does House Calls
Have you heard? Charlottesville’s own James Beard semifinalist for Best Rising Star Chef in the country does house calls.
Since leaving Prime 109 last month, Ian Redshaw has kept busy with private dinners and events, and his window between jobs presents a rare opportunity to have a James Beard semifinalist cook for you in your home. Just email him: firstname.lastname@example.org. While he will customize menus to your preferences, the best way to enjoy the work of a chef like Redshaw is to let him do whatever he wants. Like we did last night.
Twelve good friends gathered for dinner on a friend’s patio, and Redshaw did the rest. Carte blanche.
As is wise for an event like this (or any dinner, really), we sent the menu in advance to Erin Scala at In Vino Veritas, who, as always, nailed the wine pairings. She remains a gift to the Charlottesville area, like having your own personal sommelier anytime you want.
With appetizer & can bridge into entreeCazottes “Marcotte” Mauzac – Central FranceIndigenous to central France, Mauzac is an ancient grape that smells like fall- smells like Anjou pears & herbs and would be perfect with, in particular, the kabocha squash & annatto bass. Made by a famous distiller who is friends with Bono.With appetizer or entreeCambon – Gamay – Beaujolais, FranceGamay grown in vineyards around the Crus of Beaujolais. The vineyards were hand picked by Marcel Lapierre and they are farmed biodynamically by Lapierre & three like-minded biodynamic friends. This wine is lighter like a Pinot Noir and will go well with the bass and the pork (but especially the pork!).With pork:Pierre Chavin “Vignac” – Bordeaux, FranceA fuller-bodied red wine, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux Blend, French oak.
We began with carpaccio of tuna with kabocha squash, umeboshi (plum paste), bonito flakes (dried tuna flakes), benne (sesame seed) and neonata. One of my favorite ingredients, neonata is a fiery Calabrian condiment made from baby icefish that is excellent out of the jar, and extraordinary when a chef like Redshaw makes it from scratch.
The main courses were served family style: annatto spiced roast pork and annatto roast bass. For the pork, Redshaw first rubbed Autumn Olive Farms pork shoulder with orange, coriander, fermented beans and chilis, and then wrapped it in bananas leaves and slowly roasted it under river stones, which help to sustain a steady heat. In contrast to the low and slow approach to the pork, Redshaw lightly steamed the whole bass, for a more delicate flavor. Inspired by a dish from chef Michael Domtrovich, with whom Redshaw once worked at Montauk Yacht Club, Redshaw calls it a mashup of Cuba, Southeast Asia, and Hawaii.
Seasonal, hearty, and delicious, the sides were ideal for a cool autumn night. Take the smoked potatoes, with quark and mortadella. First, Redshaw cured potatoes overnight in koji, which not only lends umami, but also creates a surface on the potatoes to which smoke can adhere. Next, he smoked the potatoes with freshly fallen leaves, before adding mortadella and drizzling on quark dusted with furikake and ranch powder made from dehydrated milk. Quark is fresh cheese-like dairy product made from sour milk, and furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend often sprinkled on rice, typically to include sesame seeds, seaweed, dried fish, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate.
For stuffed squash, Redshaw rubbed the inside and outside of a hollowed kabocha squash with koji and let it sit overnight. He then stuffed the squash with shaved squash rolled into a rosette, schmaltz, clarified butter, and garlic feuillitine – crunchy slivers of garlic with Szechuan peppercorns.
Tabouleh Redshaw made from farro fermented in kefir, then lightly cooked, and tossed with warmed chestnuts, herbs, and charred red onion vinaigrette.
For “jungle curry” mussels, Redshaw steamed Prince Edward Island mussels in a pungent coconut broth made from a paste of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, galanga, Calabrian chili, shrimp paste, and lots of fish sauce.
For dessert, Redshaw took the liberty of doing something a less talented or confident chef could never pull off: made a dish we never imagined we would enjoy as much as we did, if at all. A riff on the bars that we put in our kids lunches, the entirely vegan dessert began with a bar made from granola, dates, and hemp hearts. Beside that on the plate was slow cooked pumpkin butter, huckleberry, and “cloud cream” – cashew cream and powdered sugar emulsified with non-dairy cream cheese. Even writing the words, it seems hard to believe how much we loved it.
After dinner, Redshaw left the place spotless. As he always does. He also joined us for an after-dinner drink, where he waxed philosophical about food, life, and friends. As if the amazing food he prepared were not enough, Redshaw dropped on us a profound life observation that left us wondering how soon we can plan the next Dinner by Ian.
“You never can recreate the same time and space.”