The Bellagio kicked off its 2012 Epicurean Epicenter Series Saturday night with a mini version of Cochon and Pinot noirs from three winemakers. Executive chef Royden Ellamar from Sensi couldn’t come up with his menu until he found out which wines were being served, 10 in all. Pisoni, Siduri and Roar winemakers were on hand to discuss each wine as it was served. Ellamar described each dish as he cooked it in the demo kitchen known as the Tuscany Kitchen tucked away in the Bellagio.
This hidden gem of a dinner gives guests a little wine and food education while watching the chefs prep dishes. A nifty recipe book gives you chance to make the dishes at home, although the suckling pig served four ways might be more difficult. A baby chop, smoked rillettes, bacon-wrapped loin and crackling skin lined up on the plate with Siduri, Roar and Lucia Pinot Noir all “Gary’s Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands 2010. The three vineyards are all within 12 miles of each other on the Central Coast of California.
“I wanted to butcher one on the table for you,” Ellamar says. “It’s important for me to celebrate the entire animal.” He used meat from the head of the pig and the skin to create two of the dishes.
This is the first time Ellamar has helmed an Epicurean Epicenter event. He says he tried to pick dishes representative of the eclectic menu at Sensi. “I have to do the food that I know. I keep the wines in mind,” he says.
Other courses included the day boat Blackmouth salmon Mi Cuit with salmon from the Pugot Sound, cured beforehand and cooked to medium rare and a venison course with smoked paprika, black trumpet mushroom and preserved cherries.
The next Epicurean Epicenter event takes place March 24 with wines from Patz & Hall and Bellagio executive chef Edmund Wong creating the menu. Tix are $175 per person.
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