High West Team Preps For First Visit to James Beard House
For the first time, the culinary and hospitality teams at High West Distillery will be preparing dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City next week.
For High West Distillery Executive Chef Michael Showers, the trip back east will be his second visit to the James Beard house… the first time was 23 years ago when he was a prep cook.
On November 8th, Showers will be leading the High West team which will be preparing a five course meal. Tickets to the event are available online at jamesbeard.org.
This visit he says will have him looking at the experience with a different lens…
“For me, and I think for every chef who goes as a chef for their first time, it’s really second to none, “Showers said. “It just basically signifies that you’ve been earmarked to cook at one of the most prestigious at least from a foundation basis and also from a location basis, culinary institutions in the United States. For an American chef it is one of the highest honors outside of getting a James Beard award.”
After a run through menu tasting last week, Showers says he’s not nervous about anything the team is preparing – but he is a bit concerned that the food will make it safely to their destination, some 3-thousand miles away.
The James Beard house has a notoriously small kitchen with very limited space.
“There are some logistics that make me a little nervous.” Showers said. “We do want to send some of our product to New York and it’s just that time that we all spend on the airplane and that our product spends in the air on an airplane. And being able to get our arms and give that produce a big hug when it arrives and make sure that everything is there. And we’re good to go. We want to take a lot of the unknown out of it so we will be doing a lot of prep here and shipping it. At this point, we feel really confident in being able to execute what we do in our home field on an away game.”
The menu he says was inspired by the food they serve in Park City.
“We just want to bring that culture that we have at the saloon at High West in Main St. Park City and we want to bring that to Manhattan,” Showers said. “Our food is second to none, but we don’t bring any pretention with it. We are leather boots and jeans – we do it pretty good - and we’re pretty proud about what we do.”
Usually dinners are paired with wine – but in this case it’s all about the whiskey. The first course trout and caviar will feature the Double Rye brand. A fried rabbit and waffle appetizer will be paired with Valley Tan and the entrée – his take on Corned Beef and Cabbage will be paired with a cocktail featuring American Prairie Bourbon. The meal will be finished with a Huckleberry Posset and a taste of Midwinter’s Night Dram.
“It’s a little pressure for a chef,” he said. “You actually have to be more precise with food and whiskey than I think you do with food and beer or food and spirits or anything else. So, it’s a little bit challenging for us, but we embrace the challenge and we’re super excited.”
A team of Deer Valley chefs headed by Food and Beverage Director Jodi Rogers prepared a sold-out dinner last weekend.