The James Beard Foundation has tapped Chef William Dissen of Asheville’s The Market Place Restaurant to helm a dinner event on March 22 at the James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village. “It’s hallowed ground,” Dissen says of the culinary organization’s facility. “The greatest chefs and personalities in the world have cooked there.”
But this will not be Dissen’s premier event at the James Beard House. Last October he pulled together a team of chefs to prepare dinner for the Foundation’s board of trustees. He also attended the Chefs Boot Camp, which took place Sept. 15–17, 2013 at Glynwood in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Although boot camp may sound like chefs trying to get back into shape, Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change focuses on advocacy and media training. “At the boot camp we collaborated and brainstormed about advocacy, policy issues and sustainability,” Dissen says. “Unlike 20 years ago, chefs today have more opportunities to be in front of people, and for their voices to be heard in the media. You can do that the right way or the wrong way.”
The upcoming dinner event, “Craving Carolina,’” is open to the public and can be booked online through Open Table. Dissen says the menu he chose is expressive of who he is as a person, his style of working and, of course, Asheville. “Part of me thought to do some over-the-top food and things I haven’t done before, but the food I’m excited about is what we’re doing at The Market Place.”
The menu he will prepare will include several hors d’oeuvres including foie gras torchon with apple gelée and chives on brioche croutons; several entrées such as seared sea scallop with jalapeño–smoked cheddar grits, Benton’s country ham and tomato–fennel gravy. Dessert will be a saffron pot de crème with blackberry preserves, basil macaron and borage. Preselected wine pairings will accompany almost every dish.
Although the Beard House will supply extremely perishable items, Dissen’s plan is to load up a van with fresh, local ingredients, and drive up to New York with three fellow chefs in time to prepare for the event. “It’s a ton of work, but I’m really excited,” he says. “We’ve got an adventure ahead of us.”
Craving Carloina will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at the Beard House, 167 W .12th St. New York, New York. To reserve seats, call 212-627-2308. The full menu with wine selections, tickets and links to maps are available here.