Executive Chef Greg Campbell and Pastry Chef Felipe Silva of Pier 22 have a dual strategy for making the annual Forks & Corks Grand Tasting a success. In January, they served their Short Rib En Croute, and the signature dish was an instant hit. Insider Perspective: A perfect little package of short rib, wrapped up in a savory crust with a creamy white sauce on the side.
PIER 22’s Forks & Corks Top 5 List:
Q: What are a couple of tips for prepping for the Grand Tasting?
A: We decide on the dish well in advance. A few days before the Grand Tasting, we prepare the portions and get ready to serve plenty of guests, Silva says.
Q: Do you have a wine pairing suggestion for the dish you served?
A: The Short Rib En Croute stands out all on its own. But when you pair it with the Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi 2014, from Michael David Winery, something magical happens. We enjoyed having the winegrower/owner, Michael Phillips, by the restaurant for a Forks & Corks winemaker dinner. His wines complemented the hearty, protein-rich dishes from our menu better than we ever could have imagined, Campbell says.
Q: What have you learned from past Grand Tastings?
A: To plan the menu way ahead of time, Silva says.
Q: What were some of the best compliments you received about the dish you served?
A: While Pier 22 is known for award-winning seafood dishes, we often like to switch it up for the Grand Tasting. The guests seem to enjoy something savory and different from what they might have come to expect. People cheer for a dish with quality protein, and we are constantly being asked for the recipe, Campbell says.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the Grand Tasting?
A: The event brings together many of the best restaurants from the Sarasota-Manatee area. It is a celebration of great food and great wine, and honestly, great people. As an Originals restaurant, it is always a wonderful day spent outdoors with people from the community, Campbell says.
Author: Abby Weingarten