Turning Wine Into Hope
Each spring since 2012, New York City’s finest hospitality professionals gather for what is now known as one of the most anticipated wine events of the year. Wine on Wheels is the main fundraising initiative of Wheeling Forward, a substantial contributor in assisting individuals with spinal cord disability obtain a proper support system, resources, and services needed to continue active and fruitful lives. Wheeling Forward has earned a reputation of understanding first hand how each disability impacts every person’s life uniquely.
Founders Alex Elegudin and Yannick Benjamin met after sustaining spinal cord injuries in the same month. At the time, Alex was 19 and Yannick, 25. Both young and determined to persevere, Alex returned to school and became an attorney. Yannick went to college while becoming an esteemed sommelier. After years of volunteering in the disability community, Alex and Yannick decided to use their experience, talent and individual networks to tackle challenging, underserved areas of need. In 2011, Wheeling Forward was manifested with the assistance of several committed board members.
For the last 8 years, Wheeling Forward has provided many with the motivation and resources to resume active lives!
This is why Wine on Wheels is so important!
In February of 2012, Yannick and Alex hosted the first ever Wine on Wheels Grand Tasting. Yannick, always motivated to serve others invoked his peers from the restaurant community to join the cause! Each year since, more and more budding Sommeliers, Chefs and wine enthusiasts have gathered at the Wine on Wheels Grand Tasting to display hospitality in true definition: the virtue of caring for others.
The grand tasting, is a day when wine aficionados and wine novices alike can gather together to learn and enjoy – for the benefit and support of those in need.
From the support of the restaurant industry’s best, Wheeling Forward is now recognized as hospitality driven, innovative and consists of a constantly growing and effective group of self giving advocates dedicated to enrich the lives of the disabled community.
There are many way to become apart of the Wine on Wheels tradition. You can assist in changing the lives of many! Visit Wine on Wheels to learn how!
Foie Gras is without a doubt one of my favorite foods. The first time I had Foie Gras was at this little French Bistro in Chicago called The Red Rooster. Located on the corner of Halsted and Armitage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, The Red Rooster was steps away from legendary Charlie Trotter’s and Alinea. The quaint bistro has since closed, but I have fond memories that my taste buds thank me for!
Perfectly seared Foie Gras should be crisp and well brown, and seared to a medium well. The texture is smooth and almost custard like. A common pairing for Foie Gras are figs. Their sweet jammy quality cuts through the richness, and provides a mouthwatering sensation. Any fruit compote is delicious. I used my homemade strawberry vanilla jam.
Foie gras is grown on only three farms in the United States. American Foie Gras ducks are amongst the most well-treated farm animals in the country. Choose grade “A” lobes from Bella Bella Gourmet, who sells Foie produced by La Belle Farms, a small-scale poultry farm in Ferndale, New York.
There is no technical reason to score your Foie Gras. Unlike Duck skin, Foie Gras will not curl when heated up. Most Chefs score their Foie Gras for appearance.
Make sure your pan is sizzling before you add your piece of Foie. It is normal for smoke to appear as soon as you add your Foie to the pan. Each side of Foie Gras should take no more than 30 seconds to cook.
Don’t forget to let it rest!
Friday’s during Lent have always been a challenge for me. I’m a huge meat eater, and my days blur together so much, it’s often hard for me to remember when Friday even is.
For a culinary and hospitality professional this should be a delightful challenge! Well, Lent 2017 is when I decided to embrace my faith (even more) and indulge in Lenten Friday’s. After all, fasting is all about sacrifice. Lent is precisely the time when we should not let go of ourselves or our standards.
Truly one of the over looked glories of Catalan cuisine is the poor cousin of paella. Assembled from noodles and seafood, Fideuà has been sustaining Valencian fishermen, (and upper east side enthusiasts) for generations!
At Home Soigné is accommodating to all allergies and dietary restrictions. The menu below is an example. We are willing and able to customize a menu to fit your appetite, your budget, and your at home occasion.
Warm & Cold appetizers
Vegetable Frito Misto with a Sweet Pea Ricotta ~ crispy cauliflower, broccoli rabe, artichoke and asparagus tossed with an herb salt, and dill.
Warm Ceci Bean Salad with Castelvetrano Olives ~ roasted ceci beans with shallots, pea tendrils, and castelvetrano olives.
Warm & Cold salads
Beet salad ~ roasted and pickled beets, cara cara oranges, almonds, duck prosciutto.
Fiseé and Mache salad ~ pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, warm oyster mushrooms with a red wine vinaigrette.
Salmon or Arctic Char ~ spring onion soubise. Soubise is a spring onion purée that consists of green olive oil.
Lamb Trio ~ marguez sausage, confit lamb ribs, roasted lamb loin with baby carrots, fava bean and parsley jus.
Herb Roasted Chicken ~ olive oil crushed potatoes, mushrooms and jus.
Olive Oil Cake ~ candied hazelnuts, passion fruit coulis.
Chocolate panna cotta ~ candied hazelnuts, passion fruit coulis.
Yes, it’s March and in New York we had a little taste of Spring. But, the blizzard storm Stella gave me the perfect excuse to coupe up, and turn my oven on.
What is known as a popular hangover dish is actually one of my favorite breakfast pleasures – without the hangover. I needed to use my tomatoes and I had arugula that was on the brink. My fridge is always full of at least four kinds of cheese, (I am a proud cheese head) so, I decided to make myself one of my favorite treats for my adult snow day!
Banana bread is a treat that will either overwhelm or underwhelm. But, why shouldn’t banana bread be simply delicious? It can be! With soigné ingredients.
At Home Soigné is elegantly maintaining life’s simple luxuries. Like banana bread!
What makes my banana bread so special is the at home butter, and the at home vanilla extract used in the process of creating. Butter is an ingredient every at home chef should make – at least once. Though making butter is time consuming, making something like butter offers a sense of fulfillment. It provides the at home chef control of flavors and taste, it also makes the at home chef fiscally chic if you really break down your costs.
Making any baking extracts is so easy to do, too. It’s almost tragic if the at home chef doesn’t have their own inventory on hand. I simply have vanilla beans floating in Armagnac. That’s it!
A three course dinner for 12 may seem daunting to prepare, but with tactful planning, simple ingredients and a stylish hostess to provide a delicious menu with concise guidancean an At Home Soigné dinner can unfold into an evening guests will be boasting about for weeks!
The grand finale from Friday night’s dinner is a favorite for anytime of year. Baked apples are so elegant and so tasty. With a bit of finesse, this dessert tops the list of At Home Soigné favorites!