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On March 8 at Chef’s Club in New York, we got a special taste of Michael Voltaggio’s scrumptious dishes, paired with 10 whiskies from Dewar’s (including a few rare and unreleased single malts from the John Dewar & Sons portfolio). Voltaggio cooked in a private open kitchen setting as we indulged in a custom menu of: endive salad with slightly frozen blue cheese crumbles; egg yolk gnocchi with a French onion broth; roasted turbot with banana polenta; Holstein beef short rib with parsnip casks and a drizzle of Dewar’s soy caramel; and a multi-chocolate offering called “smoke and ice” due to its cold texture and smoky appearance from Voltaggio cooking with liquid nitrogen.
“This has taught me a lot about the importance of understanding different layers in beverage. For us, as chefs, we don’t really take that into consideration a lot, outside of the wine world, and more and more, bars are becoming a very much a part of that,” said Voltaggio. “In this dish, it was about keeping it light, keeping it fresh with apples, chard, and shallot, and you’re going to have some frozen rocks of blue cheese crumbles, too, which is more about giving your pallet a break between each sip. Getting some acid, getting some cheese, and having fun.”
There to walk us through in-depth details of each dram was Georgie Bell, the global single malts ambassador, and Gabriel Cardarella, John Dewar & Sons North America brand ambassador. Single malts from The Deveron, Royal Brackla, Aberfeldy, Aultmore, and Craigellachie were highlighted throughout the lively evening.
“What you will find is a honey sweetness in Aberfeldy that is unlike any other whiskey from Scotland. It has a really long fermentation time—tall stills, with a lot of combination of white oak casks to give you one of the sweeter whiskies in Scotland. With the 12-year, on your left-hand side, it will have a little honey to it as well, but it’s a whiskey that’s incredibly approachable. It kind of bridges the gap from whiskies from America and whiskies from Scotland,” said Cardarella.