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Friday, January 25, 2013

Sundance or Bust

Jay Ducote with Sommer and Chris Wadsworth at the Sundance Film Festival
It wasn't easy, but Chef Chris Wadsworth from Baton Rouge's Restaurant IPO successfully guided our team through dinner impossible at the Sundance Film Festival.  With contributions from Chappapeela Farms (duck, pork belly), Inland Seafood (shrimp, crawfish, oysters, redfish, tasso), and Community Coffee, we arrived in Park City, UT ready to cook up a snow-storm of Louisiana dishes.  Chris and I received and invitation to serve as guest chefs for a party being thrown to promote the Louisiana International Film Festival.  Before we left, Chris and I made a video about what we were bringing to Sundance:


Our team hard at work at the Deer Valley kitchen
Trouble came at 9 AM on the day of the party when Chef Chris, his wife Sommer, and I arrived at Cisero's Ristorante.  Kitchen space that we had been promised suddenly disappeared.  Their kitchen, overwhelmed by private parties along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner services, simply had no capacity for us traveling chefs to make our magic happen.  In addition to needing extra space for the three of us to prepare seven different hors d'oeuvres for 200 people, we also had five culinary students from the area who were willing and ready to help us out.  Fortunately, Lisa, one of our extremely helpful students, had a connection at the Deer Valley ski resort, and was able to book us a couple hours of commercial kitchen space.  There's obviously much more to the story, and it will be told at some point.  But for now, let me just thank Deer Valley for their incredible generosity in opening up their kitchen and pantry to us.  We couldn't have pulled off this culinary feat without them.  The same can also be said for our five helpers.  They saved the day.

Ashley serving Strawberry and Pepper stuffed Bacon wrapped Dates
Upon returning to Cisero's only a couple hours before guests were to arrive, I went off on a wild goose chase for some Sternos, knowing that chafing dishes were our only option for keeping food hot.  Fortunately the chef community at Sundance all felt each other's pain, and I eventually found some heat.  We set up a makeshift assembly line and miraculously began to serve our food on time.  

Adjustments had to be made.  Not every dish was exactly like we would have wanted it, but considering the circumstances, Chef Wadsworth made magic happen, and I'm glad I could be there to help!  It was quite an honor to get to go to Park City and bring Louisiana cuisine to Sundance, and it was a trip that I won't soon forget.  

Jessica serving Louisiana Redfish Ceviche with Avocado Relish
The group celebrates with cocktails after all the food had been served
Jay Ducote, Jeff Dowd, Dan Ireland, and Chris Wadsworth enjoy the red carpet

The United Way's Jambalaya Jam Jams on October 9th!