Saturday, August 31, 2013

Killer Deviled Eggs, Smooth Breakfast Stouts and a Food Network Debut

On a recent Thursday eve during a particularly wild week at the hotel, the K-Man and I joined a few of our work compatriots at Cellar and Loft in the River Market to watch our new chef Kelli make her debut on Anne Burrell's Food Network show Chef Wanted.

 Executive Chef Kelli Daniels has been bringing an upscale Southern influence to our food and beverage program at the Elms Hotel and Spa, nurtured by a lifetime of professional cooking that started under her own father's tutelage and was most recently featured in her red-hot popular food truck and catering business called the Good You before taking on the Elms post.  During a recent MOD shift, I finally had the opportunity to sample some of Chef Kelli's cuisine and it's certainly safe to say I was duly impressed.  Among the items I tried were light and lively pan-roasted
beets with arugula and goat cheese and marvelous pan-fried Barham Farm chicken topped with a peppered pan sauce with collard greens and some awesomely smoked and fork-mashed Kennebec potatoes.  Chef Kelli sat with us while I tried some of the chicken and revealed some of the secrets to the delectably crispy skin on that chicken and indeed they are her secrets to reveal.  Probably most beloved (by me) of these dishes we tried were called Flora Daniels' Deviled Eggs, named after the woman whose recipe they belong to; Kelli's beloved grandmother.  I love that Kelli pays homage to her family through her food and that these deviled lovelies are on every menu she creates throughout her career.  Lovely indeed they are, and as I have an eternally strange relationship with huevos, I am somewhat picky where deviled eggs are concerned.  This version combines much of my favorite things: Dijon mustard, chopped capers, smoked salmon, pickled okra and hot sauce among other ingredients.  These are some righteous deviled eggs and needless to say, Flora Daniels has a new fan in me.

Those killer deviled eggs were also featured at Kelli's premiere party at Cellar and Loft.  Cellar and Loft is a rustic, buzzy River Market wine and beer shop with stylish tasting rooms, shelves of gourmet food, vending machines featuring wine by the glass and an astonishing array of wines and beers for sale that is also co-owned by former Kansas City Chiefs wide reciever Eddie Kennison.  The party was in the cellar area where our Spa Director Kevin and his fabulous wife Christine (who are also Cellar and Loft members) were holding court and replenishing those amazing eggs.
Along with those eggs was an array of cheeses, phyllo cups filled with a cream cheese and chicken mixture topped with blueberries and some of Bobkorn's gourmet popcorn with flavors ranging from coconut to smoked cheddar.  After a brief wine tasting, I went back to the brews, and sipped on a brilliant Founder's Breakfast Stout while we settled into one of the darkly lit locker rooms to watch the premiere of Kelli's debut on Chef Wanted.

Kelli was vying for a position in a Connecticut restaurant on the show with three other contestants.  It was a kick to watch a Food Network show debut with one of the contestants.  In the end, she didn't go to Connecticut and became our Executive Chef at the Elms, and we got to experience a fabulous watch party.  Too much fun..


Lisa Mandina said...

I would love to try those different popcorns! They sound yummy! On the other hand, I prefer just pretty simple plain deviled eggs. Don't need anything fancy added to them. But then you know how picky I am about any veggies or such. :-)

india2australia said...

First of all, to make a dozen deviled egg halves, I usually cook 7 large eggs. Discard (or munch) the two worst halves, leaving the yolks from all 7 eggs -- extra filling!

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