The fifth and final dinner of the 2012 Culinary Masters Competition took place on the eve of Hurricane Sandy, 46 floors above the city in the SoHi room of Trump SoHo New York. As the clouds rolled in, chef Dante Boccuzzi of Dante restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, prepared to serve a five-course meal that would represent the best of his globe-trotting cuisine.
First course: Hamachi Crudo with Tempura Avocado, Ponzu Foam, and YuzuWine pairing: Dom Perignon Vintage 2003
Second course: Roasted Sea Scallop and Comice Pears with Lobster Spring Roll and Ginger Butter SauceWine pairing: 2008 Entre Nous Sauvignon Blanc
Third course: Risotto “alla Carbonara,” with Soft Poached Quail Egg, Truffle Puree, and PancettaWine pairing: 2010 Skipstone Makena’s Vineyard Viognier
Fourth course: Three Preparations of Muscovy Duck: Coriander-Rubbed Breast, Confit Legs, Foie Gras Mousse, Port- and Honey-Glazed Figs, Jerusalem ArtichokesWine pairing: 2005 Skipstone Oliver’s Blend
Fifth course: Open Apple Streusel with Vanilla Sorbet and Walnut StreuselWine pairing: 2011 Sweet Genevieve Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Laurello Vineyards, Grand River Valley, Ohio
BMW, a partner in the Culinary Masters Competition, delivered guests in style to the Trump SoHo New York.
Menus and judging booklets awaited each guest, as well as a guitar pick bearing the Dante logo—a clue to a surprise that came late in the evening.
Dante Boccuzzi finishes the first course of the night: Delicate Hamachi draped over crisp tempura avocado with ponzu foam and yuzu.
Dom Perignon, the official Champagne of the Culinary Masters Competition, poured its Vintage 2003 with the first course.
Dante Boccuzzi plates the fourth course—a savory treatise on duck, including coriander-rubbed breast, confit legs, and foie gras mousse.
Mario Cantone—actor, comedian, and longtime friend of Dante Boccuzzi—introduced the chef.
Skipstone wines accompanied each course; the 2005 Oliver’s Blend was matched with the duck.
At the end of the night, Boccuzzi was surprised when a guitar materialized and he was asked to play a few songs. The chef, who is also a passionate musician, obliged with an impromptu set.
At the end of the meal, Mario Cantone declared, “Your food is as beautiful as your soul!”