Had a delightful luncheon at Raglan Road the other day, a kickoff to its big Mighty Festival celebration, which concludes today with what I’m sure will be a huge party. I wonder if they knew it would coincide with St. Patrick’s Day when they scheduled it? Besides the terrific food and wine, the folks at Raglan Road served up the details for a Master Chef Competition to celebrate the restaurant’s 10th anniversary, with semifinalists traveling to Ireland to cook with chef Kevin Dundon at his five-star Dunbrody House hotel and cooking school. See below for said details.
Dundon was in attendance at the lunch and demonstrated each dish before serving. The menu included his version of coquille St.-Jacques, which let the seared scallops star on the plate instead of the mashed potatoes. Sterling Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect pairing.
The second course featured tomato soup with an oyster on the half shell that had been given a bit of a Champagne bath of Chandon Brut. I loved the bit of brine with the bubbles. I also loved the soup, which had a splash of gin in the broth.
Roast rack of spring lamb cam next because Ireland, and because spring. And because delicious. Tourneed potatoes and carrots accompanied with just a bit of vegetable consomme, poured tableside. A cabernet from B.V. Rutherford was a great match for the slight gaminess of the meat.
Speaking of meat, you may have heard that the ban on Irish beef imports to the U.S. has been lifted. Dundon told us that there are only three places in the country that you’ll be able to get Irish beef: New York, Boston and Raglan Road. The meat had been banned out of past concerns for mad cow disease, but those worries have been addressed. Irish beef is sometimes referred to as green beef, not because of its color but because the cattle are fed only grass. (Calling it green beef probably isn’t the best marketing move.) Dundon served Irish beef at our Supper Club in Dublin last August, and its distinct flavor was a hit with the sold-out group.
Now, about that contest. Amateur cooks are invited to recommend an appropriate three-course menu — appetizer, entree and dessert — to commemorate Raglan Road’s anniversary. Submissions must be made via a video, 30 seconds to two minutes in length. Dundon will choose five finalists who will fly to Ireland from Orlando on May 21, 2015, and return on May 26. In Ireland, the contestants will stay at Dunbrody Country House Hotel in the Southwestern part of the country. They’ll cook with Dundon and visit local farms and fisheries that he uses to source his ingredients.
Then, at a private dinner at Raglan Road on October 20, each of the finalists will cook a course chosen by Dundon. The overall winner will be announced at the dinner.
Check out the Raglan Road website for all the contest particulars. There is also a place to submit the URL for your video. (You need to upload it to YouTube and then send the link; don’t send in thumb drives, DVDs or Betamax tapes.)