12 days of christmas: nørregaard… (2019)

•March 28, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Squab in the Josper.

I first ate at kadeau in Copenhagen in early 2013.  What I loved about it then was how simple, delicious, and straightforward the food was compared to the New Nordic zeitgeist at the time.  Chef Nicolai Nørregaard showcased the flora and fauna of Scandinavia without veering into the bizarre.

Although I haven’t followed chef Nicolai Nørregaard as diligently as I’d like, I have managed to check in at his restaurants a couple of times over the years.  In 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the original kadeau, on the beautiful Danish island of Bornholm, where I caught the last day of service in late summer before its seasonal closure. And at the top of 2016, I returned to kadeau in the city, after the Copenhagen location moved down the block.  But I hadn’t seen him since.  So I was especially happy to see him on this year’s roster of guest chefs at the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Nørregaard was the seventh chef to cook with hosting chef Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: chan… (2019)

•March 23, 2020 • Leave a Comment

1st Course: Tigernut, Carrot

I was wrong about Jeremy Chan and his cooking.

When I first heard about his restaurant Ikoyi near Piccadilly in London, friends described the food as West African.  Not having much experience with West African cooking, I couldn’t say whether it was or wasn’t.  Some of the food that I had there seemed West African (there was a version of jollof rice, for example), but a lot of it didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know what to make of my dinner at Ikoyi in September of 2019.  The one thing that did stick with me was how flavorful and delicious – and especially how daringly spicy – the food was.

The false assumptions and misconceptions about what Chan is doing at Ikoyi – in my case, admittedly abetted by my own lack of due diligence – are common (there was a whole article written about it). Maybe it’s because his friend and business partner Iré Hassan-Odukale is Nigerian, or that the restaurant is named after a posh neighborhood in Lagos.  And then there’s the fact that, indeed, Chan does use ingredients from West Africa.  But, having come to the professional kitchen from a career in finance, he said that he doesn’t ascribe to any one type of cuisine. His approach to cooking and flavor is wholly his own. And I’d say that’s evident.

Jeremy Chan was the sixth chef to cook at the Twelve Days of Christmas with Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: park… (2019)

•March 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment

6th Course: Quail

If there was one guest chef who seemed to draw the most enthusiastic diners this year, it was the affable Junghyun Park.  Born and raised in South Korea, Park arrived in New York in 2012 to work at the then newly opened Jungsik before splitting off to open his own restaurants. Now he’s the chef and owner of the two Michelin-starred restaurant Atomix, and its more casual sister restaurant Atoboy, both in New York City.

Park was the fifth chef to cook with Christopher Kostow at this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: avillez… (2019)

•February 21, 2020 • Leave a Comment

In the garden.

The Portuguese empire spanned the globe, from Brazil through southern Africa all the way to the warm waters of the South China Sea, where it held the last European colony in Asia until 1999, when it relinquished Macau to China.  To understand Portuguese cuisine today, is to understand the trading routes that made the Iberian peninsula an important hub of ingredients, spices, and culture for centuries.

Jose Avillez traces these flavors in his cooking.  He is the chef and owner of over 20 restaurants in Portugal, including the two Michelin-starred Belcanto in Lisbon. And he was the fourth chef to cook at the Twelve Days of Christmas hosted by Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: calvert… (2019)

•February 15, 2020 • Leave a Comment

1st Course: Drunken Quail

Each night of the Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood, hosting chef Christopher Kostow writes a person note about that night’s guest chef, which is printed with the menu. His note for Daniel Calvert, who cooked on the third night, was far more eloquent, precise, and personal than anything I could muster, and I include it here:

“I have had the good fortune of dining at Belon on more than one occasion, and have been struck by the multitudes contained in the dining experience there — the juxtaposition of finesse and warmth; of tradition and intuition; of East and West.

An alumnus of some of the world’s greatest restaurants, chef Calvert has the ease and grace of a chef who has mastered traditional techniques, while possessing the humor and wit that makes the application of such techniques a joy to witness.”

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12 days of christmas: shieldses… (2019)

•December 17, 2019 • 1 Comment

7th Course: Aged Pork

In April of 2011, my friends and I arrived in the sleepy town of Chilhowie, Virginia. We had driven eight hours from Charleston to eat at John and Karen Shieldses’ restaurant Town House.  The meal was as exciting and delicious as I had heard, and it was the beginning of a friendship that would bring John Shields to my hometown of Kansas City later that year, coincidentally, where he would cook alongside Christopher Kostow, chef of The Restaurant at Meadowood.

The next year, 2012, the Shieldses were invited to The Twelve Days of Christmas, which, as it so happens, was the very first year I was invited to attend the event (see the photos at the very bottom of this post).

In the years since those early encounters, I have met the Shieldses all over the world, mostly to eat – from New York to St. Louis and San Francisco; in Denmark, Sweden, and Spain (where we had first met, even before I had visited them at Town House). And of course, I’ve had dinner at their two Michelin-starred restaurant Smyth a couple of times since they opened in the West Loop of Chicago in August of 2016, once with Christopher and Martina Kostow.

All of this is to emphasize the many intersections in my life where Shieldses and Kostows meet. And to add one more, John and Karen Shields were invited back on the second night of the Twelve Days of Christmas this year to cook with Christopher Kostow and his team at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: camara… (2019)

•December 10, 2019 • Leave a Comment

5th Course: Pork Belly

I remember the first time I met Gabriela Camara. My friends and I were standing on the sidewalk outside of her new restaurant Contramar in Mexico City.  The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and spirits were high. Yet Camara managed to outshine all of it with her colorful entrance.

Mexican by birth, but having Italian heritage, Camara is animated and fun, warm and spunky.  And all of that comes through in her cooking.

Chef, businesswoman, and now cabinet member in the administration of Mexican President López Obrador, Gabriela Camara was the first guest chef took with hosting chef Christopher Kostow at this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurnat at Meadowood.

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