Our Wine and Food Fest’s Evening with Westchester’s Tastemakers event is quickly approaching, yet each glance at the anticipated menu makes us wish it would come much, much sooner. One course in particular keeps catching our eye, not only because the sound of a honey and sake glaze drizzled over Alaskan black cod is delectably poetic, but because of the local tastemaker who conceived it: Chef Peter X. Kelly.
Kelly, a quite notable county native, has been a part of Westchester’s dining scene for over three decades, owning and operating a number of acclaimed New York eateries and establishing Xaviars Restaurant Group, which includes X2O Xaviars on the Hudson. He was nominated for a James Beard Award, beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, and is the four-time champion of our very own Burger & Beer Blast competition (which we’re also anxiously awaiting). So, yea, we’re pretty damn excited to taste what Kelly is crafting for Tastemakers. At least we have the below interview with Kelly himself to hold us off in the meantime.
Of all the Westchester Magazine events you’ve participated in — and it’s typically a lot — what stands out to you about the Wine and Food Festival?
I think the Wine and Food Festival is a showcase of what’s great about Westchester County, from the Burger and Beer Blast to the Tastemaker’s Dinner at the Ritz Carlton, to all the other events, leading up to the Grand Tasting — it’s a showcase and a celebration of Westchester.
What flavors or themes were you looking to incorporate into your Alaskan black cod dish you will be serving at Tastemakers?
The dish for me represents my style of cooking; we borrow from lots of different cultures and cuisines to create a dish that’s uniquely Hudson Valley. Obviously we use sake that comes from Japan, but many of the ingredients that we will utilize incorporate the farms and growers from the Valley.
What about the Domaine Laroche Les Blanchots makes it the perfect complement to your dish?
That Chablis has a very clean finish, with a tart acidity, which cuts through the richness of the fish. Black cod is a very rich fish and it needs something to balance that, and the acid complexity of the wine does that.
What does it mean to you to be a Tastemaker here in Westchester?
I am honored to be part of the select group of chefs that mean a lot to Westchester County. I am awed by all their talent and honored to be part of that team.