More About that Crab in Kyoto

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I was all set to let fly a jeremiad about picky eaters. I even had a series of pictures of egg white omelettes from last week's brunch to illustrate my point. Why such sanctimony in the middle of March Madness sensible people may ask. I can't say- I was just in a snit. Then all sorts of pleasant things began to happen. As I was waking up last week through the grogginess I heard some guy on NPR talking about crab brains. I think he owned a seafood restaurant near San Francisco. The piece wasn't archived yet so I googled "crab brains food". A startling number of entries came up including one called Kyoto Foodie, which explained my whole crab dinner in Japan last November.

Then I got to go back down east. First stop was my parents home in New Bern. You may recall that I often go on about Tryon Palace Seafood which is just a block away. I always stop there for take away fried shrimp and oysters. Now they have opened the Sting Ray Cafe next door so you can sit down to great lunches of fresh seafood as well. This place is too good to be true for someone like me who grew up on beach restaurants that serve big platefuls of fried food

Then off we went to Emerald Isle where I served once more as a judge for the Iron Chef competition which is the center piece of the fundraiser for the culinary program at Carteret County Community College. The event was well attended and there was lots of good food courtesy of local restaurants. The kids from the college were pitted against a crew from a local restaurant and some of the staff of the host country club. The culinary students won with really wonderfully imaginative things. The first thing that stopped me in my tracks was a pesto made with raw collards. A little basil had been added for color. The second showed humor as well as cleverness. After announcing that they were trying to keep to a local theme, they presented us with a stir fry beef tenderloin that had been sauced with a Pepsi reduction. Yes Pepsi (It was invented in New Bern, you know), reduced with vinegar and a lot of black pepper producing a sort of Asian hot and sweet glaze. I was delighted. I intend to steal both of these ideas.

Meanwhile I got nominated for a James Beard award and the Heels won the NCAA Championship. What have I got to whine about? I'll talk about the award nomination closer to the event. Tomorrow I do a fund raiser with The Kitchen Sisters and Susan Stamberg for WUNC. The preparation for that is an entry in itself. I've been so blissed out over basketball that I didn't even get around to booking flights and hotels for the Beard Gala until this afternoon. (It's April 7th as I finish this entry). The stack of unread New Yorkers on the table says it all. I'm having a really busy spring.

posted by Bill Smith at 9:09 PM


Blogger Lucas said...

Chef Smith,

Let me first say what an honor it was for you come to the Culinary Challenge. The event helped our school tremendously.

I haven't been cooking professionally long, about two years. This was the first time my dishes/recipes had ever been formally judged. Unbiased opinions are kind of hard to find sometimes. I was, and still am, absolutely thrilled (and more than a little surprised) at such positive receptions from such well respected palates. It really validated my studies and gave me confidence that I really can "make it" in this industry.

Thank you again for your time and support of my school (and ego, just a little bit.)

Lucas LeBeau

P.S. You're more than welcome to use my ideas, it would be an honor.

April 8, 2009 4:08 PM  
Blogger Carolina Victory said...

Hi Bill, Congratulations on your nomination!

And I too am blissed out about the Heels. What a great team.

Take care, Anne A.

April 15, 2009 11:21 AM  

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