The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

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All Heart: The Rally for Allie

If you want to understand Charlottesville’s food community, you need to know its heart. In all of my years writing about our food community, no virtue stands out more. Yes, it is a talented bunch. Passionate, too. But, above all, when one has a need, others rush to fill it.

While I have seen this happen time and again, there may be no better example than the food community’s response to chef Allie Redshaw’s recent accident. The former sous chef of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and head chef of Timbercreek Market is one of Charlottesville’s brightest young stars. She is the devoted wife of chef Ian Redshaw and smitten mother of a beautiful baby girl, Sawyer. Early morning March 1, while working at Lampo, her life changed in an instant when her hand became stuck in a meat grinder. Her hand could not be saved.

Immediately, the food community leaped to her aid. A Go Fund Me Page, started the very next day, has raised nearly $150,000; a list of volunteers to make daily meal deliveries to the Redshaws filled as soon as it was announced; and, one after another members of the community asked what they could to do help. While no set of words or images can capture the compassion the food community has shown, the recent Rally for Allie did offer a glimpse.

It all started with host Pippin Hill, and owners Lynn Easton Andrews and Dean Andrews. Not only did the Andrews donate their facility, but they and their staff planned it all, too. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Pippin Hill is so experienced and skilled in special events, being one of the nation’s best wedding venues. But, events like this take a lot of work. And, for the past several weeks, on top of all of their regular responsibilities, Pippin Hill staff organized and executed a massive event, all to benefit Allie and her family.

Next were the event’s contributors, which reads like a who’s-who of the Charlottesville food community. Chefs included Pippin Hill’s own Bill ScatenaCraig Hartman of The BBQ Exchange, Dean Maupin of C&O, Lee Hendrickson of Red Pump Kitchen, Caleb Warr of Tavola, Greenwood Gourmet’s Polina ChesnakovaGerry Newman of Albemarle Baking Company, Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm, and Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations – while Dave Fafara of Shenandoah Joe provided coffee. Each one conceived and prepared special tastes just for the evening, which they personally served from stations throughout the ball room, allowing guests to graze from one stellar dish to the next.

With Allie as their inspiration, every chef knocked it out of the park. Every one. Hartman is an example. “I wanted to do a dish that has the word angels in it, because I felt that it would be appropriate for the Redshaws,” Hartman said. “That made me think of the dish Angels on Horseback.” Hartman’s riff included a fried oyster atop a cube of pork belly, all bathing in a pool of Outer Banks style striped bass chowder.

Next were the many donors of auction items for the event. To recruit donors for charitable auctions can often require active solicitations. Not this one. We simply posted a link to a donation form, and watched the donations flood in. Despite doing almost no solicitation, we received more than sixty donations of special experiences, services, and other items from generous donors.

Also not to be overlooked are the guests – 200 in all — who gladly paid $50 per ticket to join the food community in supporting Allie. Long after tickets sold out, I received repeated inquiries from people asking if there were any way to attend the sold-out event. When I told them unfortunately no, invariably they’d respond: “That’s okay, I’ll donate anyway,”

Finally, there are the Redshaws themselves. Not everyone has the character to accept help with grace. For people to whom generosity feels foreign, receiving it can leave them uncomfortable in their own skin. But, Allie and Ian are two of the kindest souls you could ever meet. Generous in their own spirit, accepting the help of others with dignity and gratitude has come naturally.

In the end, the event raised $35K for Allie’s recovery fund, to help with expenses of treatment, rehabilitation, and a prosthetic. Thank you to everyone involved for making the Rally for Allie such a wonderful celebration of the compassion of the Charlottesville food community. If you would like to donate or help the Redshaws, you may email charlottesville29@gmail. com

Below are images of the evening, courtesy of Tom McGovern.

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Gerry Newman, Albemarle Baking Company

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Team C&O

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Caleb Warr, Tavola

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Lee Hendrickson, Red Pump Kitchen

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Bill Scatena, Pippin Hill Amalia Scatena, Cannon Green

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Gail Hobbs-Page, Caromont Farm, w/ Daniel Page

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Anita Gupta, Maliha Creations

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Craig Hartman, The BBQ Exchange

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Cured beef top round w/ compresses pear and parmesan – Caleb Warr

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Crudo of Yellowfin Tuna and Hamachi, with jalapeno-ginger relish and aioli – Dean Maupin

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Smoked Rag Mountain Trout with horseradish creme fraiche, apple, and potato gaufrette –            Dean Maupin

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Carpaccio w/ smoked tomato vinaigrette, Hawaiian lava salt, bourbon peppercorns, fried shallots – Craig Hartman

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Yellowfin tuna poke w/ smashed avocado and inamono

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Smoked salmon croissant with dill, red onion, and capers; olive and herb fougassette with kalamata olives and herbs de Provence – Gerry Newman

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Esmontonian – Gail Hobbs-Page

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Angels on Horseback – Craig Hartman

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Amaretto mocha whoopie pies – Anita Gupta

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Espresso chocolate mousse w/ salted caramel, hazelnut – Anita Gupta

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Vanilla butter cake with lemon curd and fresh berries – Anita Gupta

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“Ideal” – honey cake w/ dulce de leche cream, walnuts, dark chocolate – Polina Chesnakova

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allierally

Rally for her.

Mas y Mas

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Last week, MAS Tapas’ beloved carne asada appeared in Five Finds on Friday for the sixth time. This would have tied it for the most all-time Five Finds appearances if another MAS dish had not also appeared in Five Finds. Gambas al’ parilla made its seventh appearance in Five Finds. Charlottesville chefs cannot get enough of the jumbo shrimp grilled Catalan style with plenty of grey salt and garlic alioili from the gods. This may explain why chef Mike Ketola’s work bio reads: “I cook shrimp good.” Yes you do.

But, there’s a lot more to MAS than steak and shrimp. In total, MAS dishes have made 47 appearances in Five Finds on Friday, “more” than any other restaurant, a tribute to the lasting excellence of Tomas Rahal’s tapas bar fourteen years after first opening its doors to Belmont. Thank you to Tomas and his outstanding staff for being excellent. We are blessed.

Five Finds on Friday: Reggie Calhoun

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Photo by Derrick Waller.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Reggie Calhoun, chef of Draft Taproom and Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, both of which have donated great items to the Auction for Allie, where local businesses are auctioning off special experiences and services to benefit chef Allie Redshaw. See all the great items and place your bids here. Also, on Monday, March 27, Calhoun is competing against Miso Sweet chef Frank Paris III in a Duel Chef Showdown at Tin Whistle Pub. Details and tickets here. Calhoun’s picks:

1) Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “This is not only a place that sells the best burgers in town but it also holds a lot of memories for me growing up playing soccer. My friends right after practice would go straight here and get the double bacon cheeseburger with fried onions and pickles. These burgers are perfect just as they are – juicy with tons of beef flavor and a tiny bit of crispiness to them. Each bite just melts away. It’s the perfect burger!”

2) Bourbon Fruit Punch at The Alley Light. “The first time I went to this place, I expected it to be over-the-top good, and sure enough it was. I sat at the bar and asked the bartender to select a drink. She asked me which spirit I wanted, and I chose bourbon and said I’d like something very refreshing. She ended up making a drink that not only was the best fruit punch drink I have ever had but still to this day is my favorite drink I’ve ever had, period.”

3) Polyface Chicken Wings at Rapture. “Nothing much to say other then hands down the best chicken wings in Cville. Super clean and clear chicken flavor, juicy, and crispy.”

4) Gambas al’ Parilla at MAS Tapas. “Very simple dish, but that’s just the reason why these shrimp are awesome. Briny and fresh, with the fattiness of the garlic alioli that they make in house, which is key, and huge chunks of sea salt.No lie, I eat these once a week or at least every other week. I love MAS!”

5) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “In my opinion, this is one of the top steaks in Cville because it is always cooked perfectly and seasoned just right so the steak flavor shines through. Served with garlic alioli and tortillas dabbed with duck fat.”