Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? Its all about showing people that you can pair great beers with great food the same way as with wine. You can have that awesome experience and be blown away at how the beer and food interact with each other. How flavors you didn’t taste before start coming out – it’s all about keeping people excited.
What got you started on pairing food & beer? The Meddlesome Moth was my real first intro into beer and food. I spent about a year drinking every beer I could get my hands on in the great state of Texas. With each tasting I would break it down into the basics. Aromas… Hops… Malts… Mouth feel… How does it start, what kind of back bone does it have and how does it finish. It can be much more challenging to get the perfect pairing with beer. Craft Beers are definitely more food friendly and more forgiving if you don’t have the perfect pairing but when you hit it right on the sweet spot it’s a whole new experience and that’s what I strive for.
Who are the chefs you admire? Eric Ripert for his amazing skills with seafood. Feran Adria for his insane approach to “cooking”, Gordon Ramsey for saying everything I want to say but would get fired for, Dan Barber for his true Farm to Table restaurant and Paul Kahn for simple yet really cool food.
What are some of your favorite pairings?
(1)La Trappe Quad with Saint Andre Triple Cream adorned with a Black Plum – Currant Chutney.
(2)Houblon Chouffe with Crispy Orange Peel Beef and Jasmine Rice. Sounds odd but it’s a great pairing.
(3)Avery Salvation with Pan Seared Scallops with Parsnip Puree and Pickled Golden Raisins.
Favorite style / beer to pair with? Any beer with a Belgian Yeast in it is great for pairing. The sweet clove spice and banana notes create a lot of versatility for a chef. One example was the Rare VOS that I paired with a Caribbean Style Jerk Chicken and accented it with a Banana “Ketchup”. Flavors of Jamaican Allspice, Coriander, Golden Raisins and Dark Rum blend perfectly with this brew.
Favorite all time beer? Dogfish Head Squall
Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? Ommegang Witte paired with an Arugula Salad topped with Shaved Fennel, Finnochiona and Granny Smith Apples.
Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? This is just the beginning. People are really just starting to see the full potential of the craft beer movement.
Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? Hudson House in Redondo Beach, CA – They are doing the same thing with craft beer and food as we are here in Dallas. The team also just opened up a new place I have yet to visit called The Tripel.
A simple Summer Salad using Fresh Baby Arugula or Wild Rocket.
Toss with a touch of Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Lemon Juice, Salt and Black Pepper.
Place into a bowl and then top with Raw Fennel that has been shaved as thinly as possible, Green Apples cut in just the same way and a light Italian fennel sausage called Finnochiona.