Monday, April 18, 2011

Good Food for a Good Cause: Komen's Chefs for the Cure! [Westwood]

By: Jessica Cickay

Like a lobster to a roll and a dumpling to a sizzling pan sear, the 3rd annual Chefs for the Cure event at the Viking Center in Westwood, MA managed to perfectly pair a worthy cause with plates and plates of culinary creativity from the minds of some of Boston’s best chefs. Local food icons came together for a global movement, as the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure presented a venue and a menu to meet their mission of reducing breast cancer through funding education, screening and treatment programs. Much like most Bostonians’ mind frames, the charity has a “go big, or go home” attitude toward their vision of a world without breast cancer: they are 100% committed to 100% screening and 100% access to care.

Against this admirable backdrop, I was excited to taste the fruitful labors of the famed chefs inspired to cook for a cure. When the pink ribbons were cut and the hungry masses were able to enter the 10,000 square-foot state of the art Viking Center facility, I parked myself first in line for Burton’s Grill’s offering: a mini lobster roll and homemade rosemary potato chips. Chef Denise Baron hand-tossed the lobster meat before my eyes, and I secretly wished she had just tossed it straight into my mouth. Sweet lobster meat was cut by cool and tangy mayo, both housed in a lightly toasted hot dog bun. The rosemary chips were warm, earthy and eaten faster most likely than they were flash-fried.
Keenan Langlios, executive chef of Union Bar and Grille, continued with the New England seafood vibe and served up fried clams with house-made pickles and chili aioli. The massive breaded clam was succulent and bright, reminiscent of the sun and sand along the Massachusetts coast, while the pickle was less sour than sweet, yet the perfect accessory.
A seared-on-the-spot scallop got its beauty sleep atop a bed of bright lemon risotto blanketed with a thick balsamic vinegar glaze, compliments of chef Eddie Thel of One Bistro. I’ve always believed a girl can never get enough scallops, and Chef Thel’s vibrant version did nothing to prove otherwise.
People at the event were dressed to the nines, but no one seemed to be as hot as the tamales that Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta plated up. Steamed corn husks cradled soft, cilantro-spiked masa stuffed with tender lamb, which were then dotted with bits of sharp red onion and swirled with a sour cream sauce.
Next up, I scored a slider from Del Frisco’s, which opens along Boston’s waterfront at the end of April, that certainly slid its way into the running for my top taste of the evening. The beef tenderloin lived up to its tender title, as a sweet and eggy brioche bun and a spicy horseradish sauce were both able to bring the strong flavor of the beef straight to my taste buds.
Hearts were filled with stories of hope and progress, while stomachs were filled with the best food Boston has to offer – I’d say the 3rd annual Chefs for the Cure event was quite the success.

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