By Zehnder’s Executive Chef John Zehnder, CEC, AAC, HGT
Help us Celebrate Autumn with a Special Wild Game Dinner Prepared by Zehnder’s Executive Chefs
Autumn is my favorite time of year! Cool, crisp sunny days, long shadows and the painted palette of northern Michigan’s forests signal the start of hunting season and thoughts of wild game. Many folks I talk to say they don’t like wild game, but I contend they just haven’t had it prepared properly. On Friday, October 25th, we will host a special dinner featuring game items presented in a format I like to call “tame wild game”. My team of award winning chefs and I have a very special evening planned. Each course is unique and has its own story and ingredients not necessarily familiar to most people. My biggest fault with young chefs is they often create outstanding dinners but don’t explain why certain items were used or how they complement the overall flavor profile of the prepared dishes. As an old-school chef, I think these things are important to know. It makes one’s dining experience even better.
We’ll start with a buttery strudel filled with Borsin and cream cheese plus chanterelle mushrooms sourced from a bow hunting friend of mine. He’s a DNR certified expert on Michigan wild mushrooms. To walk through the woods with him is an eye-opening educational adventure. Topped with spinach and sage pesto, this mushroom strudel is a real gem.
Our second course is a quail and late season sweet corn chowder. A simply wonderful Southern recipe from a chef friend in South Carolina. As chefs often remark, “sometimes simple is best”.
The pasta course is an old fashioned classic hunter’s style dish of venison, heirloom Roma tomatoes, rare extra virgin olive oil, aged Parmesan Reggiano and pancetta. We’ll talk about olive oils and what makes some pastas better than others.
Amish raised and processed roasted duck breast is the featured entree. We’ll talk about our ancient grain pilaf featuring a rice originally discovered in the mummy tombs of ancient Egypt and grains grown by Mayans and Aztecs in Central and South America. We’ll compliment the duck breast with an heirloom carrot and parsnip puree plus a petite salad with forage greens and aged mulberry vinaigrette. The mulberry vinaigrette story is fascinating!
And…for dessert, a chocolate souffle with late season raspberries. The souffle recipe comes from a French chef friend who owned a world-renowned low country French restaurant in Florida for many years until his retirement a few years ago. Late season Michigan raspberries have an intense flavor and aroma unlike their summer cousins. A true dessert masterpiece.
Two wines will accompany our dinner. If you’ve been to any of my special dinners, you know I have a preference for Pacific Northwest wines. Nothing wrong with California or Michigan, I just like the distinctive crisp character of Oregon and Washington state varieties.
Finally, we like to keep these dinners somewhat intimate. We limit seating to 75 guests. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, please join us. You won’t be disappointed!
Reservations required. Please call (844) 253-7852 for reservations or more information. Cost is $65 per person. Click here for the full menu.