Just like ringing a bell − it’s time to start salivating in anticipation of this year’s Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival. The Festival hosted a Collaborative Dinner event on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Central Market.
Juan Rodriguez, the chef and owner of Magdalena’s Cocina Mexicana Local joined his friend Eric Hunter, who is the chef and owner of Fire Oak Grill in Weatherford in creating a collaborative dinner experience to whet the appetite of Festival-goers.
As part of the FWFWF chef collaborative dinner series, Rodriguez and Hunter teamed up to prepare a delicious meal that showed off their culinary talents. Wine experts were on-hand to pair their creations with select wines. There are still a few more collaboration dinners planned in anticipation of the Festival.
Chef Rodriguez served as executive chef of Reata for eight years before launching his newest venture, Magdalena’s, last year. The catering business has quickly become a local favorite. And, not to be out-done, Chef Hunter nabbed the cover of Texas Monthly, when his Fire Oak Grill, located on the historic Weatherford Square, was named one of the “10 Best Small Town Restaurants” that put big cities to shame, in their December 2014 issue.
Highlights from the evening included two appetizers. The first was an authentic tuna ceviche diced finely and coated with a mild red pepper rub. The plating sat atop an equally mild chorizo verde crema and was studded with fresh slices of kiwi and strawberries for balance. The second was a classic bean soup featuring large, well-seasoned, scarlett runner beans complemented by hand-made stone ground blue corn dumplings, with marinated onions, paper-thin radishes and crumbles of queso fresco.
Guests were treated to two main dish variations as well. The first main dish was labor-intensive, hand-rolled, fusilli pasta. The pasta was tossed with tender baby octopus in a tomato sauce, garnished with pickled shishito peppers and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese. Next, rare slices of New York Strip steak, which were salted with Chihuahuan salt, were topped with a roasted jalapeno, and accompanied by both an onion cream sauce and a beef stock demi-glace. The final show-stopping dessert was a perfect savory Parmeggiano Reggiano soufflé served with a side of local honey comb lending just the right amount of sweetness.
Hungry yet? The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is fast approaching and promises to be four delicious days, featuring around 40 of the area’s most sought after chefs. Tickets are on sale now. The Festival benefits the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation, a nonprofit, whose mission is to assist in the development of the Fort Worth + North Texas culinary community through a series of scholarships and grants.