When someone asks you if you’d like to attend a private dining event at Publican Quality Meats with Chef Paul Kahan, the only questions you ask are what day and time. What he plans to serve, who will be attending or do I have a babysitter are questions that don’t go through your head. Instead you prepare yourself for a truly amazing evening with great food and conversation.
My husband and I arrived at the Mastercard Priceless Chicago event at 7:30 and instantly became enamored in our surroundings. From the lunch menu written in chalk to the various gourmet foods sitting on the shelves, we knew that we were going to have a fantastic time. After all, any place that has Zombie Dust bottled and ready to drink, has to serve the kind of food we’d enjoy.
Though we were warned, we filled up on appetizers while we waited for all the diners to arrive. With a fresh glass of rose and an empty stomach, I over indulged without even realizing it. Sitting next to diners who all had a passion for food, we talked about everything from gambling (seems craps was the game of choice) to making kimchi. After everyone had arrived, we were given a tour of the store by Cosmo Goss. Cosmo led us down the back stairwell where we were greeted by a stainless steel prep table that would also serve as our dining table. After a brief tour of the kitchen, he led us to the holy grail. The meat locker.
For my vegetarian friends. I’m sorry. The pictures you have seen will probably scar you for life. If you love meat, you’ll appreciate the time and patience that is taken dry-aging and curing the meat. Though there were differences in opinion by the chefs on the prime number of days for aging. That’s the beauty of food, there is no right or wrong answer, it’s whatever your palate decides.
I could spend hours talking about the food but upon reflection, that’s not what made this evening priceless. While the hamachi was buttery and the wine was always flowing, what made this evening stand out from all my other experiences was the atmosphere and the conversation. Being downstairs in the kitchen was the coolest way to spend the evening. As we ate course after course, the bread makers went on doing business as usual making loaf after loaf of bread. While Jennifer and Cosmo cooked, we all talked and learned more about the behind the scenes of the restaurant. Listening to Chef Paul Kahan gave me an even greater appreciation of the local food movement.
I made a couple of promises the night of this event. I promised that what was said in the kitchen, stayed in the kitchen and was not to be blogged about, especially those things said about competing chefs (I kid, even though we tried, no one would dish any dirt). I also promised myself I would make more of an effort to understand where my food comes from and to eat locally. And finally, I promised Chef Kahan I would see if anyone had any Danish pepper mills they wanted to sell him since he’s just starting his collection. Anyone?
Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event as a member of Social Fabric but I was not required to post about it on my blog. I did so because it was truly an amazing event and because I loved the experience at Publican Quality Meats. They weren’t kidding when they said this would be priceless.