On May 18, the Tahoe Forest Cancer Center put on its ninth annual Best of Tahoe Chefs dinner. The sold-out crowd of 250 people for the $125 event at the Resort at Squaw Creek was treated to a roaming feast—paired with wines from Florian’s Fine Wines & Specialty Foods—of many small plates prepared by the best chefs in the Tahoe Basin.
These chefs came out with their guns blazing and were able to show off their styles and talents with their own unique creations.
This fundraiser helps the Tahoe region’s first-ever cancer center provide the highest quality care to its patients.
The Grand Ballroom at Squaw Creek was the scene of a multi-stationed roaming feast with chefs from two to three restaurants teamed together at each one. Each chef had his or her own interpretation on the theme ingredient of their station.
At station one, Douglas Dale of Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique served up sweet and tender bay scallops in the half shell, Billy McCullough of Dragonfly plump seared scallop, and Scott Yorkey of Jake’s on the Lake laced plates with delicate scallop ceviche. Being a big fan of scallops, this was my favorite station.
At station two, Manasake’s Elsa Corrigan rolled foie gras terrine sushi rolls, and West Shore Cafe’s Ben Dufresne seared foie gras atop macadamia nut butter and strawberry caviar on brioche cro&251;tons, calling it PB&J.
At station three, Mark Estee of Moody’s Bistro showed off his skills in the form of charcuterie—meats from the nether regions of pork, with trotters, porchetta and en crepinette, and Julia Walter of River Ranch Lodge balanced the table with smoked and roasted pork loin over collard greens with bacon sweet onion pork jüs.
At the fourth table, Jacques Cornelis of the Resort at Squaw Creek dished up roasted venison loin with juniper berries, parsnip chips, Brussels sprouts and celery root puree, meanwhile David Lutz of Evergreen dazzled guests with cabernet-braised beef short ribs over fava bean puree with spring herb salad.
Moving forward, the fifth station of the event—and my second favorite—was Soule Domaine’s Charlie Soule’s seared halibut on pimenton sauce with chorizo, mache and salsa verde. At the same table was Lew shitake crusted halibut with wild ramp whipped potatoes and a basil sherry vinaigrette from Lew Orlady from Lodge at Tahoe Donner.
The last table, station six, was Pacific Crest Grill’s Michael Plapp’s tea smoked duck breast with confit gyoza and spring vegetable stir-fry. By this time I was getting full, but I am glad I saved a bit of room for chanterelle mushroom, spinach and mascarpone-filled ravioli from Bill Arnoff of Pianeta Ristorante. Man, were these good!
Amidst all this wining and dining, the event rounded up bidders for chef auction dinners provided by each chef and ended up raising nearly $50,000 to benefit Tahoe Forest Cancer Center’s research and clinical trials program. Keep your eyes open for more events such as this one in the future, and go support the local businesses, it’s one of the greatest ways to invest in your community and love thy neighbor.