We had such a wonderful experience at our latest Chef’s Table, the dinner series that’s taken the Triad by storm that is now catching on here in the High Country. We had a great event a year ago at Vidalia Restaurant in Boone and we really thought Chef Tom Jankovich would be the perfect chef to celebrate as we relaunch our series. We have always loved visiting the mountains for vacation (to get away from the summer heat) and when we visited we regularly enjoyed having brunch or dinner at The Painted Fish. If you’ve been following along you know that in the summer of 2017, we took the leap and moved here. Twenty-five of us gathered at The Painted Fish Cafe for multiple courses, each course so different from the rest and a full testament to Chef Tom’s cafe menu that is short and sweet but diverse with something for everyone.
A Chef’s Table celebrates our local chefs and restaurants and the farms and makers they support. It’s food and fellowship at its most fun. Typically, a Chef’s Table is all about letting the chef surprise us, but Chef Tom let us have a sneak peek of his menu and he also told us what to expect when he greeted us before the courses came out. Let’s take a look back!
Course 1: Lobster Chili with lime sour cream, salmon caviar.
This had all the elements of your traditional chilis with spices and smokiness but with lobster. The lime sour cream was a beautiful contrast to the earthy chili.
Course 2: Baby Kale Salad, toasted walnuts, dried cherries, shade radish, goat cheese, honey white balsamic vinaigrette
This pretty salad made for a nice palate cleanser following that robust chili. Chef Tom made a little setting of goat cheese on the bottom so that every bite got a little bit of it. And cherries and walnuts were the perfect complements.
Course 3: Tuna Tartar, wasabi cured egg, soy foam, pickled ginger, Asian micros, grilled crostini. The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar
I don’t normally declare a “favorite” dish of the night but this had everything I loved. Tuna tartar, cool and herby, a wasabi cured egg (that the chefs had been working on for three weeks)…it was ooey and gooey but not runny…oh yum and buttery crostini. A little of the soy foam on the crostini with the tartar…seriously I could eat something like this every day.
Course 4: Lamb Chop, rosemary pesto crusted, pear croquette potato, haricot vert, lamb jus lie The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar
At this point, we’re feeling good and full, but who’s saying no to a precious little lamb chop? Not me. It was perfectly cooked with herby crust and the little potato croquette (shaped like a pear …in the spirit of Christmas) was a touch of whimsy.
Course 5: Chefs Trio Dessert, chocolate Cabernet truffle w/sea salt, tomato stuffed strawberry with balsamic syrup, champagne shot.
This dessert trio had strawberries and chocolate but not just strawberries and chocolate. Each berry half was filled with a balsamic-y tomato jam. The truffles were a riff on The Painted Fish’s Chocolate Torte which is on the menu. Just in truffle form. Incredibly rich and decadent. Plus there was champagne.
In between courses we enjoyed hearing from Shannon Carroll who was there as my guest representing Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Food Hub, which serves as an online farmer’s market for residents in the High Country. Definitely check them out as they’re a great supporter of our local farms and makers in this area.
It’s always so fun to check out what’s going on behind the scenes and get an idea how the chef is handling all these dishes. Imagine 5 courses x 25 people and we’re all getting served pretty much at once, staffed by two servers. It’s intense but I can tell you Chef Tom Jankovich is just go with the flow. He and his sous chef, Adam Johnson, actually looked like they were having fun! I’m guessing they did.
Toward the end, this little one, Chef Tom’s granddaughter, Kaydn, was tuckered out enough to just catch some zzz’s. So cute.
We’re making plans for another Chef’s Table up here in the High Country. We would love your input and suggestions on where we should go in the future. We’re thinking late January and would love to have a Chef’s Table on a monthly basis or at least every other month. Yes, during all the seasons!
Those of you who attended, we’re so grateful for your support and fellowship and we hope we see you again. Those of you just taking a look here, we hope we see you soon!