Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Indie Chef’s Week at Foreign and Domestic, 1st Night Recap January 11, 2013

Chefs Ned Elliot and Jodi Elliot, owners of Foreign and Domestic, created Indie Chef’s Week  to showcase up and coming chefs from around the country.  The first of the four night series, was Wednesday night, and focused on more local than out of town chefs.  Some of my favorite Austin chefs were on the list, so I purchased my ticket for this night.

The whole series of nights sold out, so you will have to jump on the bandwagon next year, and get your tickets early.  I certainly will!

The restaurant filled up quickly, and the energy was palpable.  The kitchen was full of chefs, prepping, and waiting their turn to start plating, and helping those to serve before them.

We had a great seat at the counter, front and center to the chef action, and got to visit with Chef Shawn Cirkiel (Olive & June, Parkside, Backspace) (on the right) as he set up his mise en place and prepped for his service.


The meal started with Jodi’s famous parmesan gougeres, and a glass of bubbly.

The first course to be served, was Dry-Cured Pork Shoulder, Radicchio and an interesting Kombucha and Gin cocktail, prepared by Chef Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo.

Dry-Cured Pork Shoulder

Dry-Cured Pork Shoulder

Charcuterie heaven.

The second dish presented, was Market Crudo, with Hazelnuts, Valley Lemons by Chef Shawn Cirkiel.  It was fascinating watching it all get plated, and with the assistance of some very large tweezers, for the smallest of componants.


Market Crudo, Hazelnuts, Valley Lemons

As  you can see, the dish was gorgeous, and every bite was amazing and different from the one before, with all of the componants.

The next dish was prepared by Chef Randy Rucker, from Houston, Texas.  He foraged most of the items served on his Preserved Oyster Mushrooms  & Burdock Root plate, with Chickweed, Miso, Cream of Blue Crab & Vermouth.

Preserved Oyster Mushrooms & Burdock Root

It was as tasty as it is was beautiful.

Next up was Sour Pork Sausage, in Shrimp Broth, Pequin Sambal, Sake Kasu Noodles, Cauliflower, from Chef Todd Duplechan of Lenoir.

Sour Pork Sausage

Sour Pork Sausage

After an appropriate warning about the heat of the Sambal, I hoisted a hearty serving into my broth.  I believe that it cured me of the lingering cold/flu symptoms that almost kept me from attending this dinner.  I want more of the entire dish.

Chef Mat Clouser, from Swift’s Attic, brought the next dish of Seared Nilgai Antelope, Ricotta Gnocchi, Smoked Figs, And Watercress Pesto.  I apologize for the poor quality of this photo.  The dish was delicious.

Seared Nilgai, Ricotta Gnocchi

The dish that followed, by Chef Jodi Elliott of Foreign and Domestic, was meant to be an amuse, or palate cleanser, for the dessert to follow.  It was nothing short of amazing, as are all of Jodi’s creations.  Lemon Parfait, Praline with Almond Sherbert with Toasted Almonds.

Lemon Parfait, Toasted Almond Sherbert

The final dish of the evening, created by Chef Monica Glenn, was Valrhona Chocolate, Pumpernickle, Orange Bitters Gelato.  What an amazing combination, and salted chocolate is always a win, in my book.

Valrhona Chocolate

The wine parings for the dishes were provided by Bending Branch Winery, from Comfort Texas.  The winery produces organic wines, in a Greenbuild facility that I am anxious to visit soon, and want to learn more about.  The wines were really super.

This was one of the most enjoyable food events I’ve ever attended, and I can’t stop thinking about it.  The energy in the room was really super fun, and the frenzied plating of each round of food lended to the excitement.  All of the food was delicious – I enjoyed every dish.  My only regret, is that I could not go to all four nights of this event.


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