The James Beard Foundation

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The Beard House
167 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

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Special Event
Toni Robertson
Toni Robertson
Mandarin Oriental New York

Annie Turso
Annie Turso
Asiate and Mandarin Oriental New York

Valentine's Day Dinner

Tuesday, February 14, 7:00 pm
Members $100, guests $125

As romantic as its legacy, Valentine’s Day is too often a glut of cheap candy and perfume. Where’s the sophistication? The originality? The flair? This year, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Beard House when chef Toni Robertson and sommelier Annie Turso of the Mandarin Oriental New York host a Valentine’s Day dinner that’ll make a box of chocolates seem like, well, kids’ stuff.

Robertson’s extensive hospitality background—not to mention unusual life experience—has made her a master of haute hotel cuisine. Born in Burma, Robertson moved to America in the late 1970s and joined the Air Force, which provided her not only with discipline but also with years of education about tastes and techniques from around the globe. After leaving the military, she pursued a career in the kitchen, starting with a degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and, eventually, landing jobs as senior sous-chef at Chicago’s Ritz-Carlton Four Seasons Hotel, executive sous-chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills, and executive chef of Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, the country’s top-rated resort spa. In 2004 Robertson became the executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco, where she earned raves for the hotel’s restaurant, Silks. The San Francisco Chronicle called Silks “one of San Francisco’s hidden treasures,” adding that it is “a place for grand moments and high adventures, an exquisite restaurant where the service is as smooth as the name.” Robertson recently became executive chef of that hotel chain’s New York property.

Annie Turso, sommelier for Mandarin Oriental New York and the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Asiate, will be joining Robertson at the Beard House. Born in Queensland, Australia, Turso enjoyed a career as a professional ballet and modern dancer before becoming one of Manhattan’s premier wine experts. Formerly sommelier at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong, Turso has impressed critics at Asiate, winning such accolades as Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2004 and a nod for Best Wine List from Food & Wine that same year. Together, Robertson and Turso promise to bring the sophistication, originality, and flair back to our most romantic holiday.

Seafood Martinis

Maine Lobster Corn Dogs with Whole-Grain Mustard and Fennel Slaw

Truffle Risotto Dumplings

Cipollini Blossoms with Caviar

Hamachi Carpaccio with Lime and Crisp Shallots

Domaine Meriwether Captain William Clark Cuvée Brut 1999

Green Eggs and Ham > Quail Eggs with Truffle Potatoes, Salted Pork Belly, Port Wine Jelly, and Sliced Périgord Truffle; Sweet Pea Purée with Stir-Fried Morel Mushrooms and Virginia Ham

Marbled Foie Gras Terrine with Stewed Strawberry and Rhubarb, Granola Crackers, and Kaffir Lime Leaves

Pancetta-Wrapped Frogs’ Legs with Sunchoke-Garlic Purée, Brioche Croutons, and Celery Branch

Hugel Jubilee Pinot Gris 2000
Junmai Ginjo Hanahato Densho Folklore Sake NV

Pan-Seared Branzini with Peekytoe Crab and Potato Brandade and Coconut Laska

Nicolas Potel Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens Burgundy 1999

Snake River Kobe Beef Skirt Steak Mi Cuit with Chinese-Style Sweet and Sour Sweetbread

Robert Craig Affinity 2001

Vanilla Brioche Pain Perdu with Mandarin Orange Salad and Mascarpone Cream

Chocolate Truffle, Green Tea Semifreddo, and Milk Chocolate Cream

Chiarli Lambrusco Pruno Nero 2004
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