Written By Scott Joseph On March 4, 2013
The chefs of the East End Market Pop-Up Dinner pause before the dinner begins in front of the barrels at Quantum Leap Winery. From left are Charity Maurer and Elisa Scarpa (Fatto in Casa), Michele and Henry Salgado (Txokos Basque Kitchen), Jamie McFadden (Cuisiniers and BarJme), Rhys and Alexia Gawlak (Cuts & Craft artisan Meats) and Jermaine Allen (Cuisiniers).
The second SJO Pop-Up Dinner was held Saturday at Quantum Leap Winery and featured some of the chefs of the upcoming East End Market. Eighty guests attended the sold-out event, first nibbling on whimsical hors d’oeuvre creations and sipping samples in the winery’s tasting room, then moving sitting down to a four-course dinner in the fermentation room, which had been transformed into a beautifully elegant candlelit dining room by the magicians at Cuisiniers Catering.
All of the wines were from Quantum Leap’s inventory, and more than a few guests were surprised at the fine quality of the wines. The chefs also did a great job of matching their food to the qualities of the wines. Quantum’s co-owner David Forrester was on hand to pour and tell guests about the winery.
If you’d like to see the menu, you can download it here. And below are some of the sights of the evening. I only wish I could also share with you the aromas and tastes that we enjoyed throughout the night.
By the way, the dinner sold out within hours after it was announced in my e-letter. If you want to make sure you’re among the first to be notified for future dinners, please sign up here.
Transforming the winery space into an elegant dining room.
A popup kitchen was assembled on the loading dock of Quantum Leap Winery.
Guests gathered in the winery’s tasting room, which is open to the public on most days, for a reception prior to the dinner. The gates to the winery were down and guests couldn’t see where they would be dining until dinner was announced.
McFadden prepares one of the hors d’oeuvres, “fish eggs,” which had soft egg and caviar served in hollowed egg shells. Another offering, tuna Nicoise, features yellowfin tuna tartare, fresh anchovy and quail egg served in Star Kist Tuna tins.
While the guests were enjoying the reception, members of Quantum Leap’s crew poured the wine that would accompany the first course.
As the guests filed in, the chefs plated the first course.
Guests included East End Market’s developer, John Rife, who published a really cool 360-degree photo of the dining room, and Eat Local Orlando food blogger Chris Roberts.
Meat courses don’t get much meatier than this. Salgado holds two of the steaks, #5 Wagyu ribeyes.
Salgado worked up quite a fire grilling the ribeyes.
Michele Salgado and Elisa Scarpa singed fresh rosemary that would garnish the meat. All the chefs worked on each others courses, a true community effort.
The “chuleta” was sliced and served on wooden platters, as it will be served at Txokos Basque Kitchen at East End Market. Instead of the guests passing the platters, family style, the wait staff served each guest.
Dessert is plated and ready to go.