Monday 13 August, 2012

What Makes A Perfect Brunch?

lafwdeanmichelle01

The Southern Brunch, Perfected with Chefs Dean Fearing and Michelle Bernstein at JW Marriott

Some chef pairings seem as natural as nuts and chocolate. Others are so random, they have the potential for either sparks or combustion. Putting Dean Fearing together with Michelle Bernstein was definitely in the latter category. Cowboy-boot wearin’ Mansion on Turtle Creek vet Fearing and Jewish-Latina Miami mama Bernstein (Michy’s) may represent, in their ways, Southern traditions, but it’s not as if you put Emeril and Paula Deen together.

Still, passionate chefs always find common ground, and where they don’t, they’ll inspire each other. So the contrasts between Fearing’s food and that of Bernstein made for a fun menu of freshly-inspired Southern Brunch classics, along with something of a Laurel & Hardy or Burns & Allen comic interchange.

The menu began with Michelle curing a side of wild Alaskan cohoe in Jim Beam (it takes a week, actually), producing some gorgeous, mild, bright red flesh. She made some very simple potato latkes to go with it, adding some crunchy salad and caviar for contrasts.

Then Dean explained the term “chicken fried” for the Northerners who don’t know and did that to some nice quail (noting that his spice mix includes “every chili we know”), while preparing some simple bourbon/jalapeno creamed corn and a fantastic mango/pickled red onion slaw to complete the plate (finished with cotija cheese).

Michelle added a side dish of creamy fontina grits with fresh corn, garnished with charred kale.

All that was missing was a Ramos Fizz and a cool breeze.

The entire LAFW event is a fundraiser for St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. Please consider making a donation.

Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival official site

Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas

Michelle Bernstein restaurants