I was honored to be invited to the exclusive Chefdance event over the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. This is Chefdance’s 14th year up at Sundance, and it has become one of the most coveted seats of the festival. Chefdance comes to the festival with the goal of providing an intimate atmosphere for people to sit and relax during the fast-paced craziness of the film hopping. And this year, more than ever, that was truly needed.
Chefdance takes four nights during the Sundace Film Festival to showcase celebrity chefs and the best of cocktails and wine. This year, the four chefs featured were Chef Shawn McClain (the evening I attended), Chef Brian Malarkey, Chef Edward Lee, and Chef Cat Cora. Any one of these evenings was sure to be amazing, but Chef Shawn McClain’s menu was lovely to experience.
The night started with COCKTAIL HOUR! Which, was my main focus. Snake Oil Cocktail Company was on hand with Bombay Sapphire Gin and some great featured cocktails (and also, some of the kindest bartenders!). Of course, I was super happy because my favorite cocktail, the Negroni, was front and center. This surprised me a little, because you never really see a Negroni on a menu meant for the masses at an event like this, due to its bitter flavor. So, I was so happy and encouraged to see this classic served up.
They also featured a wonderful rhubarb cocktail, the Rhubarb ‘7, made with Bombay, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and rhubarb bitters — topped with prosecco!
The cocktail party was a fun way to get geared up for a lovely dinner. After an hour or so, they opened the doors to a beautiful dining room, where a group of hungry festival goers descended on long, communal tables, ready to be fed.
Chef Shawn McClain has an awesome portfolio, including a James Beard Award and an Iron Chef win. Over the last 15 years, Chef McClain has opened restaurants in Las Vegas and Chicago, including Spring, Sage, and most recently Libertine Social.
But most of all, his food is excellent. 🙂
Our first course was: roasted heirloom carrots,
date puree, smoked feta, harissa, and crispy rice.
Second: chestnut soup, Berkshire pork belly,
sweet onion foam (my favorite dish of the evening)
Third: spiced and smoked short-ribs,
roasted kabocha squash, crispy potatoes, pear
Fourth: malted chocolate mousse,
carmel popcorn, candied macadamia nuts
What a wonderful evening! I would love to make this a yearly tradition! I usually avoid the crowds of Sundance, but this was a welcome treat that made the trip, the crowds, and even the snowy drive totally worthwhile.
Thank you Chefdance, 2017! Cheers to next year.