James Beard is a titan of American cuisine. The late chef was renowned for his work celebrating American cooking and tastes. Beard’s legacy lives on through the James Beard Awards—the culinary world’s equivalent of the Oscars—and through the James Beard Foundation. It is through involvement with the James Beard Foundation that Oregon hazelnuts got their time in a very rare spotlight.
The James Beard House in New York City hosts more than 200 dinners each year at the former home of the gastronomy luminary. Hosted by the namesake foundation, these dinners are frequented by prominent purveyors of fine dining. In 2019, Portland’s own Quiantrelle restaurant was invited to prepare the meal for one of these illustrious dinners.
The dinners feature hors d’oeuvres and wine parings, followed by a five-course tasting menu. The team at Quaintrelle chose to highlight the native bounty of Oregon in their dishes, including hazelnuts.
First, hazelnuts were utilized to provide a crunchy component for the beet salad. This was followed by an Asian themed hazelnut mousse with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, canola oil, and mirin that was part of the amuse bouche with salmon tartare and squid ink tapioca chips. Guests were also treated to a gift bag that included loose hazelnuts and a hazelnut caramel bar.
Beard was born in Oregon in 1903 and carried a love for his home state throughout his life. He opened cooking schools in New York City and Seaside, Oregon, and wrote a litany of cookbooks.
The Oregon hazelnut industry was honored to be showcased at this exquisite dinner that carries on the legacy of a celebrated Oregonian.