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A Chef’s Table with Adam Barnett and The Katharine Brasserie

A version of this story can also be seen at YES! Weekly.

After 18 months in full-blown get-to-know-you mode, Chef Adam Barnett is feeling very much part of the culinary scene in Winston-Salem.

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Barnett, who was hired in July 2017 as Executive Chef at the relatively new The Katharine Brasserie and Bar, which was the location of the first Chef’s Table of 2019 on January 8th. The event sold out in less than eight hours and then Barnett agreed to add another 15 seats for a total of 45. Those additional seats sold out in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say, people are interested in what Barnett is doing. Many of the attendees of Chef’s Table, which was held on January 8, had never been to The Katharine and they were ready for what he was cooking up.

Named for Katharine B. Reynolds, The Katharine has been written about by me and others a number of times, from media events and regarding seasonal menu changes or new additions, so if you’re a regular reader of YES! Weekly or Triadfoodies, you know I’ve walked away impressed with the food and service more than once.  And just about every time I’ve dined at the brasserie, we’ve enjoyed some of the best wine pairings I’ve ever experienced.

I got to know Barnett a bit better when he was a guest of my podcast, “At The Table with Triadfoodies.” Barnett grew up as a regular kid in Columbus, Ohio and enjoyed summers with his mother’s family in Nova Scotia, which he attributes to his sense of wanderlust. After deciding that academia was not for him, he took a more “hands-on approach” in construction. And you know how winter is in the construction field. “I needed some winter hours and I started working in a restaurant,” he says. “I had one chef take some interest in me, then I got shuttled along to another restaurant and then I hit the road.” Barnett has had stints in Aspen, Colorado; Toronto, Ontario; Vermont, Big Sur, and Los Angeles, California; and most recently Washington D.C. “I spent eight years in the school of hard knocks, real world training and eventually landed in the advanced placement program at the New England Culinary Institute.”  Afterward, it was in California that he honed his skills in modern French techniques, which serves him well at the Katharine, a French-Inspired brasserie, but Barnett says they don’t want to be too dogmatic about it.

“I’ve worked with some very, very good classically French chefs and that’s always been the underpinning of what I do,” he says. “But like everything else, cuisine evolves. You sit back and take a look at who inspires you or you look at re-discoveries of ethnicities and I try to incorporate that into what we’re doing here.” While we may think of French cuisines as heavy with butter and cream and bread, Barnett feels that France’s influence in its former colonies in places like the Mediterranean allows him to offer a more relatable, global approach and the menu of the Chef’s Table was a reflection of that.

Course One
Apple Rutabaga Soup garnished with Parsley Oil.

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Course Two
Arugula and Shaved Fennel Salad, Parsnip Crisps Preserved Lemon Dressing

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Course Three

Seared Diver Scallops, served with a Ginger – Carrot Emulsion, Batonet Beets and Radish Sprouts.

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Course Four (Meat Course)

Grilled Painted Hills Flat Iron Steak, Caramelized King Trumpet Mushroom, Foie Gras and Madiera Sauce.

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 Cheese Course
Thomasville Tomme (from Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville GA), Campo d Montalban (a blended Cow, Goat, and Sheepsmilk Cheese from Spain), Honey-Walnut Spread, House-made Ginger-Apple Butter, Herb Salad

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Okay okay…so you’re wondering where is dessert…heh heh…funny story.  I actually really enjoyed the cheese course, after all it IS a French-themed restaurant. But there’s the story of a pastry chef and rice pudding gone awry. We’ll leave it at that. 

Barnett took some time to get to know the space and cultivate an air of good community with the culinary team itself. The Kimpton hired new management, a new sommelier and he says now The Katharine is better than it has ever been. “I feel so tremendously honored to work with this group, from our back of house to our management and our sommelier. They’re a big part of the engine. It’s never a one person show.”

Barnett says he’s enjoyed the community and has felt the embrace and he can’t imagine doing anything different.  He says, “I love the visible, tangible marker of a day well spent. And that’s one of the great things about working with food.  You get raw ingredients in, you apply technique, you hand it over to someone and you get to see the satisfaction. There’s a profound sense of enjoyment from that.”

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By the way, this wasn’t served at our Chef’s Table but if my favorite dish at The Katharine is this Beef Tartare. It’s divine.

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Wanna go? The Katharine Brasserie & Bar is located at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem. katharinebrasserie.com 

White Pinot Noir Could Be Your New Fave

Caleb Flint of Wine Merchants in WS offered me a bottle of Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 for an honest review. We are grateful for the opportunity (and the wine). All opinions are my own.

My favorite kind of wine is red wine. And of the reds, my favorite has been Pinot Noir. And no that has nothing to do with the film, Sideways. 😀 . Though a Malbec sometimes does sometimes hit the spot.  I also do try to support NC Wine as much as possible but I do like to change up.  So when Wine Merchants talked about a White Pinot Noir, I was intrigued. After grabbing a bottle,  I took a little time and meal planning for when to enjoy it. Mr. foodie and I like wine, but we have two kiddos at home and sometimes we can’t just open a bottle up and enjoy. And we rarely finish a bottle between the two of us in one night. Plus, I wanted to have a mushroom pasta dish. I am particular like that.

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Then the night came. Opened up a bottle of the White Pinot on a pasta night. I enjoyed a glass while cooking. What we found was a lightly fruity, very clean wine with body that drinks quite easily alone and is wonderful with pasta, cheese and poultry and particularly, mushrooms. Bonus points if you can manage that in one dish, which we did (a browned butter balsamic mushroom sauce over ravioli with grilled chicken). The photo of the dish didn’t come out well. But I’ll make it again and share the recipe.

The wine went perfectly. I have a feeling this is going to be in the regular rotation.

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i see you

White Pinot Noir is gaining in popularity but is still considered somewhat “rare” compared to other varietals.  it takes a special process because Pinot Noir grapes are obviously red. This is an excerpt from VinePair.

To make white wine from red grapes, winemakers take careful steps to ensure that there is minimum contact, or maceration, between the pre-fermented must and color-giving grape skins. To eliminate maceration for white Pinot, only a small amount of the grape’s juice can be fermented into white wine.
Free-run juice is released when grapes are piled, and their skins break under their own weight. In white winemaking, this produces the highest quality wines because there’s minimal contact with bitter skins and seeds. Free-run juice, and occasionally must from a very light pressing, are used to make Blanc de Noirs still wines.

White Pinot Noir also listed as Pinot Noir Blanc or Blanc de Noirs.  In Winston-Salem, you can find Amity Vineyards for about $25 at Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Wine Bar at 205 S. Stratford Rd. in Winston-Salem.  (336) 765-8175.

By the way, if you haven’t been to Wine Merchants or the bistro next door, get yourself over there. The restaurant is one of the most underrated spots in all of the Triad. Read about them here.  Site of 2 Chef’s Tables! That’s how good.

Cheers!

Carolina Poutine with Pulled Pork

Did you say poutine? Yes, yes! This is your all local poutine inspired by the abundance that North Carolina offers. I am receiving compensation from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to raise awareness about purchasing pork at NC farmer’s markets. All opinions and content are my own.

IMG_7515Every once in a while a great opportunity comes along and you get a little more bang for your buck when it comes to being a cheerleader for all things local–you get a whole TEAM of cheerleaders. I’ve partnered with the NC Department of Agriculture’s Got to be NC program along with bloggers across the state, to highlight some of our local farmers. Bloggers like me, who love local goodness (I’ll call them my SQUAD), are shopping at their local NC farmer’s market, buying the ingredients for a meal and sharing the recipe with folks like you. We’ve got chicken and pork coming at you. I’ll share links to those at the end of this post.

My farm is Mill River Farm in Mount Airy. I’m actually familiar with farmers, Kim and Steve, as I subscribed to a CSA with them a few years back. Such quality meat and produce!  I looked forward to what would be in my box every Saturday when I picked it up from the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market.  market - booth2

Kim and Steve have an abundant farm and they sell pork products such as bacon, pork belly, pork butt and loin, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, produce of all varieties like lettuce, kale, peas, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and I could go on and on. You can visit them at the farm (details here) or at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market, where you can speak to them directly and find out more about how they raise their animals and grow produce that you can feel so great about.  They’re both super knowledgeable and enjoy sharing what they do. Kim even has a cookbook called Cook Like a Farmer .  It’s full of great recipes. The thing that we don’t want you to forget is: When you visit your North Carolina farmer’s market, don’t forget the meat!

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When I saw Kim and Steve, they weren’t in their traditional digs inside the farmer’s market since the fair was in town. But they had enough yumminess on hand for me to purchase the main ingredients for my #GotToBeNCPork Carolina Poutine.  Poutine? Yeah, baby! Poutine is typically french fries and cheese curds with a rich brown gravy.  If you’ve had it, you know it’s like the guiltiest pleasure ever. Mine is a riff on that.

Let’s take a look at my truly local…

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Carolina Poutine with GotToBeNCPork
Serves 2-4

2-4 Sweet Potatoes (count on about one per person), preferably #gottobeNC
Pulled pork (from a 2-3 pound #GotToBeNCPork butt or shoulder)
Ashe County Cheese Curds
BBQ Sauce of your choice (I used a blend of chipotle sauce with some Eastern NC sauce I had on hand)

To prepare the pork: Give the pork a good liberal rub of your choice of seasoning plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you’re able, grill the pork on all sides. I don’t have a smoker, so I let my grill and my slow cooker do the work for me. Get it good and browned on all sides, then place in the slow cooker with about 1 1/2 cups of water or broth (beer or a mixture of bbq sauce and water is fine too–you just want a flavorful liquid). Allow to cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Once tender and falling apart, remove from cooker and shred it, baby.

Cut your NC Sweet Taters into fry-sized sticks. Coat with oil (I used avocado oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional), salt and pepper. Bake at 400-degrees until lightly browned and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Just before you remove the fries from the oven, heat up the sauce. I simply used my favorite Sam Jones Eastern NC style sauce and added some smoky chipotles to it.  You will want that sauce to be PIPING hot so that it can melt the cheese curds as it hits them.

On a platter or pan, place the crispy sweet potato fries in heaping pile. Top with shredded pork, cheese curds and drizzle the sauce over the top. The sauce should be hot enough to start melting the cheese curds. If not, it’s okay to blast it under the broiler until they appear to be just melting.

Garnish with chopped green onions and enjoy!

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I want you to know that this delicious and fun recipe is simply a guide. If you can slow cook your meat on a smoker, so much the better. As I said before, I don’t have a smoker but I do have the grill and a slow cooker. I get a really good crust by grilling on high, though I keep an eye on it as the fat and any sugar on the outside can cause it to light up. You can also bypass the slow cooker and modify by cooking on a low heat in the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. The sauce is also up to you. A mole would be amazing with those sweet potatoes. Play around with your flavors and have fun!

So… what makes it poutine? To a purist, is it still poutine if it doesn’t have real gravy but rather a sauce?

I’m not here to debate that. I just do know this poutine delicious party, nosh, use-up-leftovers kind of fare that tastes great with a NC craft beer. Support your local farmers at your local market. I’ve got links below to plenty of convenient locations and some of the best pork in North Carolina.

PS: You are going to have plenty of pork leftover for another poutine, tacos, breakfast…or a good ol’ BBQ plate.

Here’s a list of the pork and chicken from my squad:

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Got To Be NC Pork at Your Local NC Farmers Market

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Watch Heidi’s video!

Got to Be NC Chicken at your NC Farmers Market