Friday, September 23, 2011

A Top Notch Meal with Top Chefs

It's not often the GWG venture to Raleigh, but when we do, you know it's for good reason. Last night we made the trek out to Poole's Diner to have dinner with two former Top Chef contestants, Kenny Gilbert and Erika Davis, and other local food bloggers, eatRaleigh and DurhamFoodie. It was a fantastic night filled with enjoyable conversation and scrumptious food.
The two chefs and their crew had just flown in from Florida for their appearances at the Southern Ideal Home Show this weekend. We enjoyed the chance to talk to them about their experiences on the show as well as their current food endeavors.

Chef Gilbert appeared on season seven of Top Chef and is currently the executive chef at Nippers Beach Grille in Jacksonville, Florida. We were told his Mac & Cheese Mondays are legendary and we'd love to make it down to see just how much cheesy goodness these GWG can stomach in one evening.

Chef Davis was a contestant on the first season of Top Chef Just Desserts and is now working as the executive pastry chef at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Jacksonville, Florida. Erika's tales about life behind the camera didn't spark our interest in being on a realty tv competitionlet's just say it's long days with little rest.

We all met up at Poole's Diner, which if you've never been, you've probably at least heard about it as it gets a lot of attention from the food community. Formerly opened as Poole's Pie Shop back in 1945, you can still catch a glimpse of the old diner under the modernized décor. The menu changes based on what is available locally and seasonally and includes the types of dishes you might see served up on Top Chef.
Heirloom Tomatoes with Marinated White Acre Peas, Cornbread and Basil
The menu is handwritten on chalkboards which is a nice touch but can be a bit frustrating if your eyes aren't great or you are in a large group. We shared the liver paté and pimento cheese appetizers among the table and then GWG split the Heirloom Tomato Salad and a side of creamy Mac & Cheese for our main course (there actually ended up being at least four orders of Mac & Cheese at the table, if that says anything).
Mac & Cheese
To end on a sweet note we ordered a couple of dessertsthe Brown Butter Pears with almond crumble and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Mousse and Ginger Anglaise. Although the menu is a bit more upscale than most places we visit, it still felt accessible and we enjoyed all of our dishes.
Brown Butter Seckle Pears with Pastry Cream, Beet Gel, Almond Crumble & Stevia
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Mousse and Ginger Anglaise
The Southern Ideal Home Show is going on this weekend at the Raleigh Fairgrounds, and the chefs will be making appearances both days. We were given an idea of the menus they will be offering up during their demonstrations, and believe us, you want to get there and try it for yourself!

Friday, September 23:

1:00 pm
Top Chefs Duo "Heat Up" Cooking Stage Savory meets Sweet!
Presented By: Chef Erika Davis & Chef Kenny Gilbert

5:00 pm
Chef Kenny "The Beast" Gilbert Fan Favorite Temps Your Taste Buds!
Presented by: Chef Kenny Gilbert

Saturday, September 24:

11:00 am
Top Chefs Duo "Heat Up" Cooking Stage Savory meets Sweet!
Presented by: Chef Erika Davis & Chef Kenny Gilbert

3:00 pm
Just Desserts...Sweet Treat!
Presented By: Chef Erika Davis

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