Food, unlike any other aesthetic medium, tantalizes all five of our senses: the ways a dish looks, tastes, smells, feels, and even sounds while we eat it are all crucial to our enjoyment. The fact that food also happens to nourish the body is an added bonus. At the bi-national Senses, a gifted group of chefs is particularly dedicated to pleasing the senses with their beautiful food. This month, they meet at the Beard House to prepare a feast that will thrill more than just our palates.
Beard House regulars will happily remember pastry chef Bruno Feldeisen, whose confectionery creations have tickled our tastebuds many times in the past. A native of Clermont-Ferrand, France, Feldeisen served as chocolatier for superstar chef Alain Ducasse at the famed Louis XV in Monaco's Hôtel de Paris; then he moved stateside for a top pastry post with L.A. favorite Joachim Splichal at his flagship restaurant, Patina. Next stop: New York, where Feldeisen delighted the palates of Gotham power-brokers as executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel. During his tenure there, he was twice nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award and twice named one of the top ten pastry chefs in the country by Chocolatier magazine. When he sensed the time was right, he left New York to consult on the opening of Senses in Toronto and to open his own outpost of Senses in Washington with partner Xavier Deshayes.
The restaurant business came naturally to fellow Frenchman Xavier Deshayes, a native of Béziers-in fact, he seems to have developed an acute understanding and intuition, almost a sixth sense, about all things culinary. He embarked on a professional career at the age of 18, training at culinary programs and in restaurant kitchens throughout France. In 1989, Deshayes came to the United States as chef at the Soho Restaurant in Santa Barbara, California. He soon moved to the Stonehouse Restaurant in the award-winning San Ysidro Ranch. Two years later, Deshayes became sous-chef at Michel Richard's Citrus in L.A. Then he joined the brigade at the Four Seasons Los Angeles. He worked the stoves at Truffles in the Four Seasons Toronto, one of Canada's premier restaurants, before teaming up with Feldeisen in Washington.
Canadian-born Neal Noble also trained under some of Europe's finest chefs, then wielded a whisk at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver and the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto, two of Canada's finest hostelries. Noble was executive chef of Toronto's Metropolitan Hotel for four years before becoming corporate chef for the Toronto-based company that owns both the Metropolitan Hotel and Senses chains. Together, Feldeisen, Deshayes and Noble promise a gastronomic extravaganza. Prepare yourself for sensory overload.
Senses' Pastrami-Smoked Salmon
Smoked Venison Carpaccio, Fresh Thyme, and Hazelnut Cracker
Tempura of Ahi Tuna, Asparagus, and Pickled Ginger
Tequila and Herb-Marinated Lamb Chops
Truffled Wild Mushroom Bouillon
Pan-Seared Diver Scallops, Vichy Carrot, and Violet Mustard Sauce
Roasted Ontario Quail with Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Crisp Double-Smoked Bacon, and Venturi Schultze Balsamic Vinegar
Dried Tomato-Crusted Veal, Celeriac Mash, and Provençal Herb Sauce
Warm Chocolate Cake, Crushed Raspberries "à la Fourchette," and Orange Reduction Sauce
Mille-Feuille of Apple Sorbet with Pear Truffle Sauce