Auden, the new restaurant at the Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park, was the elegant location for chef Gavin Kaysen's Culinary Masters Competition dinner. Kaysen usually helms the kitchen at another elegant spot a few blocks north, Café Boulud.
The evening began with a series of imaginative canapés, including Kumamoto oysters with caviar and celery leaves, balanced atop balls of ice.
First course: Hamachi with Horseradish, Orange, Roasted Beets, and Steel-Cut Oats
Wine pairing: Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003
Second course: Celery Root Agnolotti with Chestnuts, White Truffle, and Mimolette Cheese
Wine pairing: Paul Hobbs 2010 Chardonnay, Ellen Lane Estate, Russian River Valley
Third course: Butter-Poached Turbot with Cauliflower Puree, Sea Urchin, and Pickled Raisins
Wine pairing: Paul Hobbs 2010 Chardonnay, Edward James Estate, Wente Selection, Russian River Valley
Fourth course: Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Wild Rice, Brussels Sprouts, and Apple Cider
Wine pairing: Paul Hobbs 2010 Pinot Noir, Katherine Lindsay Estate, Russian River Valley
Pre-dessert course: Concord Grape Sorbet with Sheep's Milk Yogurt and Candied Walnuts
Dessert course: Peruvian Chocolate Ganache with Grapefruit, Earl Grey, and Hazelnut Ice Cream
Menus and scoring booklets await each judge at the dinner.
Dom Pérignon, the official Champagne partner of the Culinary Masters Competition, poured Vintage 1996 with Gavin Kaysen's canapés. The chef's first course—hamachi with roasted beets, orange, and horseradish—was matched with Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003.
BMW, a sponsor of the Culinary Masters Competition, provided stylish transport.
Gavin Kaysen behind the stoves at the Ritz Carlton.
Gavin Kaysen, at left, puts the finishing touch on a dish.
Chef Eric Ripert, left, with his Culinary Masters nominee, Gavin Kaysen, and wife, Sandra Ripert. During the dinner, Sandra Ripert quipped, "I married the wrong chef."
After the last plates were cleared, there were congratulations from Eric Ripert and celebratory drinks for Kaysen's crew.