Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Edible Manhattan BLOG: Boulud, Keller and Vongerichten Deliver to D’Artagnan, for a Change


D'Artagnan's 32-Star Dinner for it's 25th Anniversary

Last weekend, Ariane Daguin sat sated, quietly blissing out next to her parents. Her father André, a Michelin starred chef from Gascony, France, was the first to introduce Ariane to foie gras, which became the basis and tour de force of her gourmet foods business called D’Artagnan.

It was this very product that was attributable to last night’s Progressive Dinner festivities at Le Bernardin, in which culinary stars with a total of 32 of their own (either from the New York Times or Michelin) were in attendance. This was the last stop of a roster of meals that toured the elite kitchens of Daniel, Jean-Georges, and Per Se in honor of D’Artagnan’s 25th Anniversary.

But the final meal of the series was also an epiphany for me.

Edible Manhattan profiled Ariane in 2009 as a “Tastemaker,” but it wasn’t until seeing Ariane in action that I realized how her life’s work drew from a community of like-minded chefs whose origins are the land of Armagnac across the Atlantic Ocean. So New York chefs (or those considered to be by now) were paired with their Gascon compatriots; Daniel Boulud cooked with Jean Marie Gautier, Daniel Humm with Jacques Pourcel, Jean-Georges with Michel Bras, Thomas Keller with Helene Darroze, and Michael Laiskonis with Theirry Marx and Pauillac & Philippe Urraca.

To see all these chefs side by side, working with once-foreign, now familiar ingredients in Manhattan, made me realize that the term “local” may not only pertain to an ingredient’s distance from the source or role in traditional cuisine, but also to a cooperative spirit.

That, along with plenty of red and white costumes, was in evidence at Guastavino’s under the Queensborough Bridge last night, as a culinary crowd of revelers (including Tom Colicchio and Drew Neiporent, who were allowed to play along with the band) dressed in the colors of D’Artagnan came to toast Ariane’s accomplishments — in the same vein D’Artagnan himself did during the 17th century inception of the Company of Musketeers, one imagines. All for one, and foie (gras) for all!

BONUS PHOTO:

Can you name all these chefs?

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