Each year since 1998, Marriott and Renaissance Hotels nominate their chefs for the Award of Culinary Excellence, an internal company award based on creativity, overall dining, leadership, training of others, measured improvement, and personal development. The Chefs of the Year are the two highest scoring chefs. If you are at the Hanover Marriott in New Jersey, stop in and say hi to Philip Medora, the Marriott Chef of the Year. While in Boulder at the Renaissance Suites Flatiron, Alexander Porter, Renaissance Chef of the Year, will show you why his Flatz Restaurant has been such a local favorite!
Mid-September is a perfect time to visit Boston, and what better time for the Award of Culinary Excellence-winning chefs to see this beautiful city!
Our trip began with a New England reception on the fifth floor of the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, overlooking Boston Harbor. Chef Joe Chaves presented Wellfleet oysters with cranberry vinegar mignonette, crispy seared scallops, classic chowda’ (a great New England Clam Chowder– thick and creamy with loads of clams), tiny Dutch ovens filled with a personal sized Yankee pot roast, and a fantastic two bite Boston cream pie.
For those wishing for a little taste of Boston, make a big pot of Joe Chaves’ excellent Boston Clam Chowder. Just follow the recipe below!
Too much to write in one blog, so I will save the details for later of our farm visits and finale…an incredible 11 course final dinner at Arrow’s Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine.
Boston Clam Chowda’
Ingredients for 1 gallon
2 slices applewood bacon, chopped
¼ cup clarified butter
¾ cup flour
½ gal milk
2 tbl butter
2 cups onion, diced
1 ½ cups celery, diced
1 tsp garlic, chopped
½ tsp thyme leaves
1 qt clam juice
2 lbs chopped clams (about 1 ½ pint by volume)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Tabasco or hot sauce
1 pint heavy cream
2 tsp parsley, chopped
1. Render the diced bacon until crisp. Remove and reserve on an absorbent cloth for later use.
2. Add the clarified butter to the bacon fat. Add the flour, mixing well. Cook the flour/butter mixture over moderate heat, making a roux. Stir often.
3. Separately heat the milk, but do not boil. Add the hot milk to the flour mixture, whisk vigorously. Simmer over moderate heat for 15 minutes.
4. In a thick bottomed pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion, celery, and garlic 4-6 minutes.
5. Add the potatoes and clam juice, bring to a slow simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the tabasco, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.
6. Add the clams and bring back up to a simmer,
7. Add the thickened milk to the clam/vegetable mixture.
8. Heat the heavy cream and add to the soup base with the chopped parsley. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary.
What’s on your plate today?