Chef Matt Beach’s Table is an experience not to be missed. For holiday gift giving, a gift certificate to a memorable evening around the Chef’s Table would make a truly unique and very special present for a family member, friend, or group of friends.
At this time of year most of us, I sincerely hope, are enjoying cooking and eating delicious holiday meals and treats. Like many of us, I developed a love for cooking because of festive childhood memories centered around making holiday deliciousness with my mom, sisters, grandmothers, and friends. I also love to cook because of my experience when very young of working at a country French restaurant, located in my hometown of Dennis, (the other) Cape Cod.
I should clarify and say the owners of the restaurant were Italian and Swiss, but the chef was all French—Bernard was his name—a very slender, fiery-tempered, red-headed, and red-faced Alsatian man. I was hired at 13, initially to sew new tablecloths and curtains for the restaurant and then was kept on, working at first as a salad girl, and then given increasingly more challenging positions. I adored working there not only because of the many fascinating personalities and interesting jobs, but because each afternoon at four o’clock every member of the staff sat down together at a long dining table to eat a delicious dinner prepared by the Chef. The meals were oftentimes fresh fish caught by the owner earlier that day, and even a simple hearty sandwich on beautifully crusty French bread baked fresh that morning seemed wonderfully tasty. I loved, too, the kitchen garden, located just outside the dining room’s large picture windows. One of my jobs was taking care of the garden and I learned much from Chef Bernard about growing herbs and vegetables. Today it is commonplace for American restaurants to have kitchen gardens and for Chefs to shop for produce from local farmers but back then it was not the norm to grow your own.
I will never forget one very special evening when Chef Bernard was seen with a shotgun, chasing around and around the garden, dressed in his full chef’s wear, big white hat and all, cursing at the top of his lungs (in English, French, and German), and with a dining room full of patrons, because rabbits were eating his prized greens! The very next day Haveahart traps were placed in the garden by the owners and rabbit stew was promised to us by the Chef although, as far as I know, none were ever captured.
For the next ten years I worked in a range of different types of restaurants and night clubs in a variety of positions, including hostess, cook, cocktail waitress, and bartender. These jobs supported me as I worked my way through art and design school. Are there any job as memorable as our first jobs? My early jobs in restaurants led to interior design projects working with several architects on a dozen Boston restaurants, including Hammerley’s and Flora’s however, the experiences and kind (and colorful) people at my first job left a deep and lasting impression.
I am sharing this long-winded story because Sunday night my husband, Tom, and I were invited to join Savour’s Open Chef’s Table. Chef Beach’s dinner was simply sublime and the wines Kathleen chose to accompany each course were exquisite. Megan was the sous-chef and John Lamarinde was in charge of service, and both did a fabulous job at that. While enjoying Chef Beach’s dinner and the lively conversation and company of fellow guests I was reminded of those staff dinners at La Coquille, and not just because of Matt’s extraordinarily delicious dinner and the warm ambience around the Chef’s Table, but because the main course was Rabbit Ragout!
Chef Beach is sharing his recipe for Rabbit Ragout! Have you ever had rabbit? If not, you are in for a superb treat, especially with the slow-cooked method in which Chef Beach prepares the rabbit. With the many photos from the evening’s event, this post would be far too long to include the recipe. The recipe will follow in a day or so.
A Beautiful Salad of Mixed Greens with Roasted Squash, Goat Cheese, Toasted Pecan, and Shallot Vinaigrette, served with Cellar de Roure Cullerot BiancoRich, Flavorful, and Wonderfully Tender Rabbit Ragout with Homemade Pappardelle (Pasta), served with a very fine red wine, Cocci Grifoni Tellus
To read more about how you can join the Chef’s Open Table visit the Beach Gourmet website at: beach gourmet.
What could be simpler for holiday celebrations than picking up ready-made appetizers and hors d’oeuvres? Beach Gourmet offers a fabulous selection of in-store holiday hors d’oeuvres, including their divine caramelized onion dip, artichoke dip, and creamy brie en baguette, with cranberries and walnuts (you may have sampled any one of these at Ladies Night). Additionally, for the Beach Gourmet extensive pre-order menu of hors d’oeuvres and dinners, see their exquisite holiday fare on the beach gourmet website.
Another Great Christmas Gift Idea ~ During the months of January, February, and March, Chef Beach is offering gourmet cooking classes; classes in soups, brunch fare, desserts, and make-ahead dinners and hors d’oeuvres. You don’t need to sign up for all as the classes are offered individually at their gorgeous and pristine demonstration kitchen at Savour Wine and Cheese.