Eye Candy: Sarma at the Beard House


Call us biased, but we think a night at the Beard House is a dining experience unlike any other. Guests sit in a historic New York City townhouse, while chefs cook in the kitchen where James Beard himself once held culinary court. Diners are at once rooted in history and experiencing the latest trends and techniques from around the country, as chefs whip up once-in-a-lifetime meals that are exclusive to their Beard House showcase.


Service in the Beard House kitchen is a madcap adventure of gastronomic acrobatics, careful planning, and unanticipated improvisation (you try cooking six courses for 80 people in your home kitchen). The photos below, from 2016 JBF Award semifinalist Cassie Piuma’s recent Beard House dinner, show the intensity of concentration, the joy in teamwork... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Montauk Yellowfin Tuna with Tangelo–White Soy Purée, Tempura Cilantro, and Sea Beans

Photo by Jeff Gurwin


Charming waterfront hot spot Dave’s Grill has some of Montauk’s toughest seats to snag during the summer, but Beard House guests were in for a treat when this seasonal showstopper relocated to West 12th Street for a winter seafood feast. Chef Michael Bingham presented a sensational surfeit of surf and turf, delighting diners with dynamite dishes like Crispy Pork Belly with Thai Curry, Cilantro, and Charred Scallion Oil (get the recipe here); Slow-Scrambled Long Island Duck Eggs with Duck Sausage and Kimchi Rice; and Golden Tilefish with Cauliflower Purée, Chimichurri, Roasted Oyster Mushrooms, and Bay Leaf Oil. But one of the most memorable dishes was this arresting plate which opened the night’s tasting menu. Bingham lived up to his... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Bavette Steak, Salt-Roasted Celery Root, Fried Herbs, and Carrot Bordelaise

Photo: Fortunato M. Ramin


Sarah Simmons has won many admirers through the elevated Southern dishes at her lauded hot spots City Grit and Birds & Bubbles in New York City, and late last year expanded her reach to South Carolina with the opening of City Grit Farmhouse and Rise Gourmet Goods and Bakeshop in Columbia. Beard House guests were treated to a preview of the new eateries’ fare when Simmons and partner Aaron Hoskins prepared a Southern sweetheart feast last month. Amongst a menu of regional staples from a wedge salad with cauliflower, broccoli, white anchovies, brown butter, fines herbs, and hazelnuts to a lowcountry boil with spicy fermented shrimp, corn cake, crab butter, potato... Read more >

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Eye Candy: B.L.T. Sandwiches with Cocoa-Crusted Bacon and Spiced Tomato Chutney


In honor of Valentine’s Day, craft chocolatiers Matthew Silverman and Matthew Piekarski brought their unique “bean to bar” concept to the Beard House for a chocolate-infused dégustation. Keith Schroeder, who sources Hexx chocolate for his artisanal ice cream company, joined the duo for an evening of gastronomic indulgence. With a menu filled with creative dishes like braised beef brisket empanadas with dried cherries, guajillo chiles, and mole negro and seared sea scallops with white bean cassoulet, cocoa nib–lamb merguez, escarole, and preserved... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Oysters Rockefeller with Sassafras Root Cream, Mustard Sprouts, and Po’ Boy Bread Crust

Photo by Phil Gross


Mardi Gras celebrations at the Beard House are always inspired and indulgent affairs, and this year’s Fat Tuesday fête was one for the ages. Chef Daniel Causgrove of French Quarter institution the Grill Room at Windsor Court Hotel treated diners to a festive menu highlighting the best of the restaurant's classic and contemporary dishes. Bead-wearing guests sipped Champagne and sampled decadent canapés like deviled yard eggs with choupique caviar and sugarcane shrimp with crayfish mousseline before diving into a feast melding traditional Big Easy flavors with top-notch technique. One standout from the meal was the chef's rendition of oysters Rockefeller. The dish ran the gamut of high- and low-brow New Orleans dining, the silky sassafras root cream of the Rockefeller upper crust intermingling with the actual crust of the humble po’... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Peter Chang's Cucumbers Stuffed with Shrimp and Pine Nuts


Chinese New Year is always a spirited celebration at the Beard House, and this year’s fusion-inspired feast was no exception, featuring a first-class roster of D.C.-area chefs preparing a jubilant pan-Asian repast. Peter Chang, Scott Drewno, and K.N. Vinod rang in the Year of the Monkey with a menu spanning from Sichuan Province to California to the Subcontinent, enticing Beard House diners with flavors spicy, sour, savory, and sweet. Chang, known for his elevated take on Sichuan cuisine and penchant for peppercorns, eased guests into the meal with a cooling canapé of cucumbers stuffed with shrimp and pine nuts. These bite-sized canoes of crunch mixed the subtle sweetness of the shrimp with the toasted earthiness of the pine nuts, all underpinned by the refreshing cucumber. With this singular hors d’oeuvre Chang adeptly set the stage for the decadent dumplings, masala, potstickers, and hot-and-numbing sauce that made... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Pork Belly with Celeriac Purée, Braised Apples, and Apple Jelly


Perched on the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont's historic Basin Harbor Club beckons guests with its spectacular surroundings and singular cuisine—much of which comes directly from the resort’s bountiful on-site farm. Last month, lucky Beard House guests sampled the rich flavors of the Green Mountain State’s terroir when chef Christian Kruse served up a hyper-seasonal feast. His menu brimmed with dishes like golden beet risotto, graham-crusted venison with spiced pear purée, and a curried delicata squash soup that would make any New Englander proud. A true standout of the night was Kruse’s luscious 16-hour-cooked local pork belly with creamy celeriac purée. Tart and juicy Champlain Orchards apples accompanied the dish in a trio of preparations: braised, jellied, and whipped into an airy foam. By the end of the evening, guests were ready to book their next Vermont getaway... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Puffed Pollock Crackers with Olive Tapenade, Smoked Crème Fraîche, and Lemon Balm


Landlocked Montclair, New Jersey, and coastal Dover, New Hampshire, couldn’t seem more different, but for chefs and friends Bryan Gregg and Evan Hennessey, a Beard House collaboration was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the bounty of land and sea. At their recent wintry dinner, the two culinary charmers presented a boundary-pushing, surf-and-turf menu, which included these stunning puffed pollock crackers with bursts of autumn olive tapenade, tangy smoked crème fraîche, and fragrant lemon balm. A perfect example of their shared hyper-seasonal and regionally inspired ethos, these dainty canapés didn't last long.


... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Fennel Salad with Malt Vinegar Chips and Deviled Egg Sauce


With three locations along the East Coast, Corkbuzz Wine Studio is a growing mecca for oenophiles with a wine bar, restaurant, and class space at each. For their recent Beard House dinner, master sommelier Laura Maniec and chef Allen Evans (from the newest North Carolina outpost) treated guests to a luxurious evening of Champagne and outstanding fare. Stunning dishes exited the storied Beard House kitchen, like tiny gougères with foie gras mousse and delightfully smoked beef tartare with goat cheese and puff pastry. Perhaps the most delectable bite of the evening was the fennel salad with deviled egg sauce on malt vinegar chips. The combination of the creamy, luscious sauce with the tart and ever-so-slightly crisp fennel perched on top of the world’s most perfect edible vessel—... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Dark Chocolate with Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, and Citrus


After stints under Emeril Lagasse, Thomas Keller, and Tom Colicchio, Matthew Accarrino now leads Bay Area favorite SPQR, where he has earned one Michelin Star and three consecutive Beard Award nominations for Best Chef: West. At his second Beard House appearance last month, Accarrino delighted palates with his modern interpretations of classic Italian ingredients and flavors. Dishes like Beef Belly with Tokyo Turnips and the striking Burnt Flour Pasta Timballo with Sartori Fontina Fonduta and Urbani White Truffles started the evening on a high note, hinting at the spectacular final course of the night. The lauded chef’s beautifully deconstructed dessert matched rich dark chocolate with wintry chestnuts, hazelnuts, and candied citrus. With a final flourish of briny flaked sea salt, the earthy undertones of the chocolate soared... Read more >

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